This dish was inspired by the classic Sicilian ingredients of fennel, orange and black olives, which are used here to flavor tender chicken thighs. It’s a simple dish, but still impressive enough to serve at a dinner party. If your slow cooker doesn’t have a flameproof insert, brown the chicken in a sauté pan on the stove top before transferring it to the slow-cooker insert.
Slow-Cooker Chicken with Fennel, Orange and Olives
- 1 large orange
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
- Kosher salt
- 6 large bone-in chicken thighs, skinned, about 2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) total weight
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- 2 small fennel bulbs, about 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) total weight, stalks and fronds removed and bulbs cut lengthwise into thin wedges
- 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata or niçoise olives
1. Zest and juice the orange, then strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml). Add the zest, broth, mustard and 1 tsp. salt to the juice and whisk to combine. Season the chicken with 2 tsp. salt.
2. Put a flameproof slow-cooker insert on the stove top over medium-high heat, then add the butter and oil and warm until hot. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken, bone side up, and cook until nicely browned on the underside, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Transfer the insert to the slow cooker, add the fennel and orange juice mixture, and toss and stir to mix well. Nestle the chicken pieces, bone side down, in the fennel mixture. Scatter the olives over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours. The chicken and fennel should be very tender and the chicken should be opaque throughout.
4. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover to keep warm. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard as much fat as possible from the surface of the cooking liquid.
5. Transfer the chicken and fennel to individual plates and spoon the cooking liquid over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.