Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Slightly Spanish - Chicken, tomato, fennel and paprika 'casserole'

Yes, here I am pretending to be somewhere other than my little ol' kitchen in the rainy ol' UK! Yes, I know the weather is improving slightly and April is not necessarily the time for a stodgy casserole (although if I give it too much thought, I could eat stodge the majority of the year!) but this, whilst casserole-y in it's own way, is light enough to be eaten when it isn't freezing cold outside. It's tasty, tangy and fresh. I paired it with some garlicky new potatoes and with a glass of Rioja, I could have been sat on the terrace in my finca, watching the Spanish sun go down. Well, in my own mind anyway.

The recipe is adapted from the one by the clever Bill Granger in his 'Everyday' book. If you haven't encountered his delicious food and gorgeous recipe books, then I urge you to do so. They simply make you smiley about life and contain mouthwatering, gorgeous recipes that are fresh and simple. I am even kidded into thinking they're healthy! My changes were that I used breasts rather than thighs, as this was what I had in the freezer. I omitted the honey. My reasoning was that I just didn't fancy it and I don't think Lola and Finn would have done either. The only other alteration I made was that I indulged my parsley obsession by chopping in finely the stalks of the parsley that I planned to use later on in the finished dish.


Chicken, tomato, fennel and paprika casserole, adapted from 'Everyday' by Bill Granger


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon water
wide strip of orange rind
400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
500 ml (17 fl oz / 2 cups) chicken stock
1 red pepper, roasted
and thinly sliced (I used the roasted peppers you can get in a jar)
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
Sea salt
Parsley, to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan over medium to high heat. Add the chicken (in batches, if necessary) and brown for 2 - 3 minutes on each side.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Drain most of the oil from the pan, leaving just about 1 tablespoon.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and fennel to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally,
for 7 - 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. (I added the fennel first, then the onion)

Add the garlic, fennel seeds and paprika and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the saffron with its liquid, the orange rind, tomatoes, stock, parsley stalks and pepper to the pan and stir well.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low.

Cover and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Skim any oil from the top of the casserole.

Stir in the honey, if using, and season with salt and pepper.

I served this with new potatoes and a sprinkling of parsley, and it was glorious!

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