Chicken with Fennel and Celery Root (Serves 4-6)
Fennel looks like celery from another planet and celery root just looks ugly, but they impart an enjoyable, delicate, subtle flavor. With chicken and other vegetables, they make a satisfying and tasty meal.
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
1.5 pounds chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth (no added sugar or soy)
One fennel bulb with stalks
One celery root
One medium onion
25 peeled baby carrots
9 ounces of fresh spinach
Extra virgin olive oil
Do prep in the following order: Wash celery root. Peel or slice off outer layer. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Rinse fennel. Cut off end of bulb. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop onion and carrots into bite-sized pieces. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle with salt. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse spinach and shake dry.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch Oven. Add celery root and about 16 ounces of chicken broth and let cook covered on the stove top while you prepare the next ingredient. The idea is to get a little cook time on the stove top during prep time. Add fennel. Add a nice dusting of salt and garlic powder. Add one teaspoon of black pepper. Add onions, then carrots, then the chicken. Add a nice dusting of garam masala. Stir contents well. Cover with lid and put the whole thing in the oven to cook 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir fresh spinach into the mix. The spinach will not fit all at once and you will need to let the first portion wilt down before you add the next portion. Stir contents well and let the hot mixture sit covered on the stop top for a few minutes while the spinach soaks up flavor.
Notes: I discarded the feathery leaves of the fennel today, but will add the leaves to the pot next time now that I know I like the taste of fennel.
Garam masala is a blend of ground spices common in Indian cooking. Meaning “hot mixture” in Hindi, garam masala is noticeable, but not hot like chili powder is hot. The mix I bought includes cumin, pepper, cinnamon, hulled cardamom, cloves, and mace.
I used a 6-quart enameled Dutch Oven from Lodge Cast Iron (http://www.lodgemfg.com/) in Caribbean blue that I just bought. What a wonderful tool! A 4-quart size would have been fine for this dish, but having room to spare was nice.
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