Bulb fennel is a light, delicate vegetable that comes into season during the early summer and mid-fall months. With a taste similar to that of anise, it is unique and crunchy, and adds a great flavor to chicken and fish. When sliced and seared in a pan, it caramelizes similar to an onion, and pairs well with pasta and potato sides. I decided to add lemon rind and honey to this recipe as I was cooking, which gave a light and summery flavor to the chicken in the pan.
If you’ve never cooked with fennel bulbs before, don’t be afraid! Like I said, it’s a lot like onion, just more solid. Pick a bulb that’s heavy and dense for it’s size, and just trim the bottom and the greens before slicing.
The next time I make this, I’ll definitely drain the broth after everything is cooked together and add a dollop of a cream sauce. I think that the tanginess of a yogurt dressing would compliment the herbs and lemon well, and would balance out the savoriness of the chicken and garlic without being heavy.
Make sure you don’t overcook the fennel-otherwise, it will fall apart and be mushy. Only use enough oil to sear the bulbs up with for the same reason. I honestly feel as though you could omit the stock from the recipe. It’s used to help steam up the fennel, but if you’d cover the pan and remove it from the heat, it would do the same thing. If you cut out the broth, adding a yogurt dressing would be perfect!
Also, make sure that the chicken you pick up isn’t too thick. The thicker the cuts are, the longer they’ll take to cook, which could lead them to being tough. I added a little more oil here so that the chicken wouldn’t dry out, and I made sure to cover the pan and slightly reduce the heat so that the chicken could cook to the center. This took about 15-20 minutes total, and in adding the fennel and broth back to the pan it cooked a few minutes longer.
I made a batch of angel hair pasta up to serve this with. I tossed together a few tablespoons of olive oil with about 3/4 cup of minced fennel fronds with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make a rough pesto. This was mixed into the pasta, which really tied it to the chicken. Again, you could toss the pasta with a yogurt sauce (can you tell I’m a fan?) instead of the pesto, for a light Alfredo type dinner.
Change Up this Mediterranean Dish
We always encourage you to play with our recipes and make them your own. This recipe only features and handful of required ingredients, so you have lots of room to play:
- Create a cream sauce with plain Greek yogurt, lemon rind, and minced fennel to serve over top of the fennel and chicken.
- Add in thinly sliced olives or seared grape tomatoes.
- Thinly slice a lemon and use to garnish the dish.
If you decide to try this recipe, be sure to take a photo and share them with us using #waxingkararecipes on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!
Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Fennel and Rosemary
- 4 small chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- 1 large fennel bulb greens trimmed
- 1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. lemon rind finely grated
- 1 tsp. Waxing Kara Honey
- salt and pepper
Rinse and slice the fennel bulb into 1/2 inch thick slices (they can be a little thinner depending on the size of the bulb). Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a metal pan. I like to use copper cookware for a nonstick surface.
Add the fennel to the pan, along with half of the rosemary and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Flip often and allow to sear until a nice golden crust forms.
Add the stock to the pan and reduce the heat. Cover and allow to steam for a few minutes. Remove the fennel and the liquid from the heat and set aside in a bowl.
Wipe the pan clean and add the remaining olive oil. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and the remaining rosemary. Increase the heat on the pan to medium-high, and add the chicken.
Allow the chicken to cook completely, turning every few minutes to develop a nice sear. When the chicken is almost done, drizzle with the honey and add the garlic to the pan and allow to cook for a minute or two before adding the lemon rind and reducing the heat.
Add the fennel and its liquid back to the pan with the chicken, cover, and turn off the heat. Allow these to sit together for several minutes before serving over rice, mashed potatoes, or pesto-tossed pasta.