My involvement with rfcj has certainly broadened my cooking horizons. As
I learn about unfamiliar ingredients which have a connection to Jewish
cuisine, I go through periods where I use them with some frequency in my
cooking. Since learning that fennel was common in ancient Israel and
learning that cooking with fennel was strongly associated with Jewish
cuisine in Italy, I've been on a fennel kick. I prepared all manner of
stir fries with fennel. Then I bought a bitter bulb of fennel which
turned me off the vegetable.
Helpful friends taught me the difference between male fennel (rounded
bulbs) and female fennel (flattened bulbs) and told me to use female
fennel. I gave the vegetable one more chance and tried the recipe below.
It was a success.
* * * * * * *
Chicken and Fennel
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1/2 pound onions, thinly sliced
1 pound fennel bulb
2 cups dry white wine
2 to 2 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, cubed
1 cup black Kalamata-type olives, pitted
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
Combine flour and 1 teaspoons salt in a plastic or paper bag. Drop each
chicken breast in the bag and shake gently to coat the breat on all
sides with seasoned flour. Shake each chicken piece to get rid of
excess flour and set aside on plate.
Saute chicken over medium heat, using only enough pieces to fill bottom
of pan without crowding. Cook chicken until lightly browned on both
sides (about 10 minutes per side). Remove chicken to cooling rack over
baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken is browned. When all chicken is
browned, drain all but 1 tablespoon fat.
Add onions and cook over medium-low heat, for 15 minutes, stirring
Cut fennel in quarters, remove cores, then cut into 2-inch sections. Add
mushrooms and fennel chunks to the saute pan with the onions. Continue
cooking until fennel begins to soften, about 5 additional minutes.
Return chicken to pan. Add wine. Put lid on pot slightly askew and cook
over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. If chicken
begins to stick, reduce heat. While chicken is cooking, cook potatoes in
large pan of boiling, lightly salted water until tender, about 15
When chicken is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife, add olives
to chicken and cook 5 minutes more. Add potatoes and cook 5 additional
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Source: Adapted from a recipe appearing in the LA TIMES, n.d.
All data, logos, text contained on any portion of Mimi's Cyber Kitchen
copyright 1995 through 2001 Mimi Hiller, JB Hiller, Jennifer Hiller. No
portions of this website may be used without express written permission of