Chicken and potatoes is a traditional Moroccan dish, many times made with olives and drenched in sauce that can be soaked up with fresh bread. Our spiced chicken recipe incorporates young fennel bulbs that add a fresh counterpart to the savory and slightly sweet chicken. Because we’re using small fennel bulbs, every part of the root can be eaten, and it’s much more tender (see note below). You can use the bulb and stem for this recipe, then chop up the fronds and mix in a salad. This dish would be great with veggie couscous.
Rinse the fennel under cool running water.
Slice off a thin layer from the bottom edge and discard.
Cut the stalks off about 1 ½ – 2 inches above bulb. Cut the frond off stalks and set aside for another dish.
Use a potato peeler to peel off any discolored spots from the bulb (or if the outside layer is tough, pull off and discard). Stand the bulb upright with stalk stubs pointing up. Slice the bulb vertically between stubs. Set the fennel bulb and stalk pieces aside to cook with chicken.
Place the oven rack 1/3 from top heating element. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mince the garlic.
Juice the lemons.
Wash and quarter or halve the potatoes.
Rinse and chop the parsley.
Use a mortar and pestle to grind any whole spices.
Set all aside.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towel. Sprinkle mixed spices over the chicken.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium. Add the chicken pieces and potatoes. Cook until the chicken is crispy and golden (about 15 minutes), stirring the potatoes to ensure even browning.
Transfer the potatoes and chicken to a heatproof plate and set aside.
Add the fennel pieces to the skillet and sauté just until tender (about 7 – 10 minutes). Stir in the garlic and continue sautéing another 1 minute.
Use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron threads.
Add the chicken and potatoes back into your skillet. Pour in the chicken stock. Stir in the saffron powder. Place the skillet in preheated oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through (about 10 – 15 minutes). Remove from oven. Sprinkle parsley around dish and drizzle with lemon juice.
Serve hot over a bed of cooked couscous or rice. Optionally, chop fronds up and mix them in with a fresh side salad.
Note: we’re using small fennel bulbs that are tender, with stalks and cores that are edible. If you’re using a larger bulb, you’ll need to remove the tough, fibrous core and may need to use just the bulb (without the stalk).