Braised Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Onions


  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


Trim fennel bulbs, and set aside fronds. In a blender or food processor, pulse about 1/2 cup fronds, garlic, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt until finely chopped. Add 1/3 cup oil and purée.

Halve fennel bulbs lengthwise. Slice thinly with a mandoline or very sharp knife.

Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown chicken until skin is crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving drippings in pan.

Stir fennel seeds into skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Add sliced fennel and onion, seasoning with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add Pernod and scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the skillet; cook until liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.

Lay chicken on top of the fennel-onion mixture. Pour 3 tablespoons water into the pan. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until chicken is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and cook off any excess liquid if necessary. Stir in lemon juice.

Serve chicken and vegetables topped with generous dollops of the fennel frond purée.