Chicken braised with meyer lemon and fennel

On February 18th, Kaiser Permanente's 13th farmers' market will open at the relatively new Baldwin Park facility in East L.A. They are partnering with nearby Cal Poly at Pomona. College students will be staffing the market which will feature the organic fruits and vegetables grown at the college as well as products from alumni who are certified growers. The profits will go to the college and charity. As our markets grow in number, different models are created reflecting the unique conditions and spirit at each facility. Now we are partnering with a college. Previously, Dr. Jeff Ritterman, cardiologist, and Nora Norback, MPH dietitian at Richmond working with community groups, made it possible for Richmond KP to take its mobile market out into the community providing fresh fruits and vegetables where no grocery stores are available. It just keeps getting better. January and February are peak season for Meyer lemons which, no surprise, are named after someone named Frank Meyer who introduced them to California 97 years ago. They are thin skinned, fragrant, juicy and a bit orangey sweet. Along with organic fennel from the market and oregano, they impart a spectacular flavor to slowly braised chicken thighs. Per serving, there are 12 gm of fat (only 2 gm saturated) so this main course can be part of a healthy diet. Either way, roast fingerling potato chunks tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper at 450° in a heavy baking dish while the chicken is simmering. You will need something on your dinner plate to help soak up the juices. This is another one of those recipes that is so good I could hardly wait to send it out. A note about wine used in cooking. One of our psychologists pointed out the potential conflict of the use of cooking wine for those individuals in recovery from alcohol abuse. A Google search turned up wine vinegar as a substitute. After some experimentation, I settled on a 6:1 ratio of water to wine vinegar to approximate an inexpensive cooking wine. I tried it in a previous recipe and any differences were imperceptible.

Ingredients

  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 3 large Meyer lemons
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 6 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup green olives (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp grated Meyer lemon zest

Directions

Trim the stalks from the fennel, reserving the lacy greens. Slice the fennel lengthwise in 1/4" thick slices then slice these lengthwise into 1/2" pieces. Cut the lemons in half then cut each half into 3 to 4 pieces. Discard the seeds. Put the lemons in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add the chicken, pepper, garlic and oregano and turn to coat. Set aside for about 30 minutes. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly brown the chicken, turning several times. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil and the fennel. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the lemons, optional olives, wine and water, scraping up the brown bits. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, exactly the time needed to roast the potatoes. Mince the fennel fronds, mix with the lemon zest and sprinkle over your dinner in a serving bowl.

Contributor

Preston Maring, MD