The first time I shared this recipe was back in May of 2014. I was a brand new food blogger back then. We were still living in the Caribbean and my biggest challenge was finding fresh ingredients. I shared this fennel chicken recipe after finding some fresh fennel at the one and only supermarket we had on our small island.
Those days are long gone, and living in Vermont, finding fresh ingredients is no longer an issue. However, I still make this roasted chicken with fennel recipe quite often so I decided to give it a facelift with a few new photos and some helpful information.
If you are in need of a restaurant quality chicken recipe that you can serve to your family and friends, this orange and Pernod flavored chicken thighs with fennel might be just what you are looking for.
This is a rather easy to make chicken recipe that requires a little bit of advance planning, but for that very reason, it is a great dish that you can start making a day ahead.
This is especially helpful if you are planning to make other dishes before your guests arrive so you don’t have to spend too much time on the main course.
How to cook fennel with chicken
This Baked Chicken Thighs with Fennel recipe has 3 parts.
First, you marinade the chicken in a quick marinade. This part requires a little bit of advance planning, but the good thing is that this advance prep will make the next steps a breeze.
To make the orange chicken marinade, you mix together Pernod, orange juice, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken thighs, fennel wedges, orange slices, thyme, and fennel seeds into the mixture. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
I recommend marinating the chicken for at least 2 hours. However, it would be better if you can do it overnight.
Second, you place all chicken, marinade, and all the other ingredients (including orange slices and fennel chunks) in a casserole dish and roast them in a 475 F degree preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken thighs cooked thoroughly.
The last part, reducing the juices in the pan, is optional but I think it is what takes this roasted chicken with fennel and orange to another level.
To do so, transfer the chicken thighs, fennel wedges, and orange slices into a serving plate, cover with aluminum foil and set aside to keep warm.
Strain the juices in the pan through a strainer and transfer into a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, turn the heat low, and allow it to simmer until it is reduced to ⅓ cup.
How to serve roasted orange chicken with fennel
I served this chicken recipe with my mom’s bulgur pilaf with vermicelli, which is my go-to side dish when I am serving chicken (similar to this chicken fricassee recipe). However, you can serve it with any starch you like.
To serve, I place a roasted chicken thigh on a bed of bulgur pilaf and garnished it with roasted fennel and slices of blood oranges. To finish it off, I drizzled it with a few tablespoons of the reduced juices.
I think caramelized fennel chunks mixed in with sweet roasted oranges served with chicken makes the most beautiful presentation, which is why I usually serve this when we have company.
What if I don’t have Pernod, what else can I use?
Since I published this recipe back in 2014, I was asked this question a few times so I thought I can answer it in this updated version.
What is Pernod?
First, allow me to explain what Pernod is for those who do not know.
Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur from France. It adds a licorice-y flavor to the dishes that it is added. Most people use it in seafood recipes, mostly in mussel dishes, but it pairs well with chicken as well.
In my opinion, what makes this chicken with orange recipe so delicious is the pairing of anise flavors coming from fennel and Pernod. In other words, Pernod is an important ingredient for this recipe.
However, if you do not have Pernod on hand, you can also use an equal amount of Turkish raki, Greek ouzo or pastis. They have similar flavor profiles and would work well in this recipe.
You might ask, what if I don’t have any of those? Can I use white wine instead? Yes, you can, but the anise flavors will not be as recognizable.
With that being said, if you read some of the reader comments below you will see that a few people actually prefer making this dish using white wine instead. So, it is up to you.
A Word on the fennel
If I am being honest, I don’t like fennel that much. However, roasted fennel is a whole other story, especially when it is mixed with something sweet like orange juice. I think roasted caramelized fennel is one of the most delicious things in the world.
The recipe below says you should use 2 bulbs of fennel, but I usually add in a few more (up to 4 in total). They get smaller when they are roasted and people usually ask for more of it after their first bite.
Other roasted chicken recipes you might like
- Chicken Pita Wrap with Tzatziki Sauce – A weeknight recipe (ready in 30 minutes)
- Chicken with Olives and Lemon – Mediterranean Style Chicken
- Baked Chicken Parmesan Recipe
- Crispy Cheddar Chicken – Lightened up version (Oven Baked)
- Chicken Potato Recipe – Only 7 Ingredients
- Chicken Stroganoff
- Need more inspiration? Be sure to check out all our Easy Chicken Recipes
Other recipes made with fennel
Roasted Orange Chicken with Fennel Recipe
For the Marinade:
- 1/3 cup Pernod
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons orange juice freshly squeezed
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper freshly ground
For The Roasted Chicken and Fennel:
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs bone-in (you can leave the skin on or take it off – both would work)
- 2 medium fennel bulbs washed and cut into 6 equal wedges
- 3 oranges sliced horizontally into 1/4 inch slices – feel free to use different kinds of oranges (Cara Cara, Navel, Blood Orange would all work)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1- tablespoon fennel fronds – as garnish
To make the marinade:
- Mix Pernod, olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, mustard, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Pat-dry chicken thighs with paper towels.
- Add the chicken thighs, fennel wedges, orange slices, thyme, and fennel seeds into the mixture. Stir well. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it marinate at least for 2 hours or overnight.
- Pre-heat the oven to 475 F Degrees. Place the chicken thighs (skin side facing up), in a single layer, into a large ovenproof glass pan (I used a 11”X15” Pyrex).
- Distribute all the fennel wedges and orange slices equally around the chicken thighs.
- Pour the marinade juices over it. Place it in the oven, and roast for 40-45 minutes or until chicken thighs are fully cooked.
- Transfer the chicken thighs, fennel wedges, and orange slices into a serving plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Set aside.
- Drain the juices through a strainer and transfer them into a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Then turn down the heat to low, and allow it to simmer until it is reduced to 1/3 cup, 6-8 minutes.
- When ready to serve, place chicken on the plate, garnish with roasted fennel and orange slices, pour the sauce over the chicken, and garnish it with fennel fronds.
- Serve immediately.
Fairly heavily adapted from Jerusalem‘s Roasted Chicken with Clementines & Arak recipe.
This post was originally published on May of 2014. It has been updated with new photos and additional helpful information.