Chicken Braised with Fennel and black olives (Poulet Provencal)

Sweet onion and salty olives balance tart lemon in this practical, make-ahead chicken dish.
Serve with potatoes, beans or rice.


2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano or Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 fresh lemon, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon picked thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lb. tomatoes ( 3 to 4), diced
1 large fennel bulb
1 large onion
1/2 cup French white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup black olives, pitted

YIELD: 4 persons

COURSE: Chicken & Other Birds



  1. Whisk 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice,1 tablespoon oil, garlic, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper in a 71/2-by-11-inch (2-quart) glass or ceramic baking dish. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, trim stalks from fennel, reserving the lacy greens for garnish. Slice the fennel bulb lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Lay slices flat and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slivers. Peel onion, cut in half lengthwise and slice. Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch dice.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, stock and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in olives. Spoon this mixture over the chicken. Add lemon slices to the top. Cover with foil and bake at 350° until the chicken is cooked through and the fennel is very tender 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Finely chop enough of the fennel fronds to make 2 tablespoons. Combine with the remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest; sprinkle over the chicken before serving.