Chicken & Fennel Ragu
This was a cosy Sunday night meal, we were both in the mood for something comforting and this hit the nail on the head. The fennel cooked with the onion is a very mild flavour so don't be shy to use it as it adds a very nice touch. If you don't have fennel you could always just add more onion but it wouldn't be quite the same. One recipe I saw added bacon which I imagine would be tasty but its not something we have on hand often. Another recipe used wine instead of stock, again it would add more flavour but I didn't have any in the house!
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons butter 6 boneless chicken thighs (Bostocks Organic Chicken) Kosher salt 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) 1-2 bulbs fennel, cored and finely chopped 6 sprigs fresh thyme 1⁄2 cup stock (chicken or vegetable) 1⁄2 cup whole milk Ground black pepper 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
In a deep saucepan or deep skillet add the oil & butter over a low - medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt. Turn the heat to medium- high and add the chicken, skin-side down, to begin to brown. After 3 or 4 minutes, turn it and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the onion and fennel and sprinkle with a crack of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and just starting to turn golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for another minute or so.
Pour in the stock and simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken with any accumulated juices, skin-side up, keeping the thighs in a single layer. The chicken should be just sitting in the liquid.
Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat down so the liquid is bubbling very gently. Partially cover with a lid, setting it so some steam can escape. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes. (45 minutes if using bone in thighs)
Once the chicken is tender use two forks to shred the meat in the pot. Add milk to the pan and turn the burner to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until sauce is nearly reduced by half and slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the parmesan. Reserve some cheese for serving.
We served it with mash potatoes and steamed greens. Another option would be serving it with pasta, or spaghetti squash.