Make the most of fragrant fennel in this traditional French ragout. Frying succulent chicken thighs until golden, cooking slowly in a white wine and fennel broth and finishing off with soft cheese and dill, gives a hearty chicken stew that's packed with fresh spring flavour.
- Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. In a roasting tin, toss the potatoes with 1 tbsp of oil, thefennel seeds and the lemon zest. Season well. Roast for 40 minutes, shaking the tin halfway through.
- Dust the chicken using half the flour; season well. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron casserole dish or a large, lidded frying pan over a medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then fry the fennel for 5 minutes.
- Scatter the remaining flour over the fennel and toss to coat. Stir in the wine and stock, scraping up any meaty bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and soft cheese with a little more seasoning. Scatter over the dill and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- Shred the chicken using two forks, then scatter over the fennel fronds. Serve with the roasted potatoes.
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