Brothy Braised Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Pernod
April in the Hudson Valley is unpredictable. Yes, it’s technically spring, but I’ve seen snow this time of year more often than I want to think about. While much of the country has started enjoying warmer days, things here are still bleak, cold, and damp. It’s around this time that I find myself manically seeking out anything that’s not beige and dusty, pale orange, or named something fairylike such as a “Gilfeather,” which as lovely as it is to say, is still just a turnip—you can’t trick me!After months of braised pork shoulders, roasted root vegetables, baked pastas, and stews, I want dishes that offer comfort but aren’t necessarily heavy. Enter this brothy Pernod-braised chicken thigh recipe, which offers the satisfaction of a slow-cooked meal but comes together in about 45 minutes. Here, bone-in chicken thighs are browned then braised with fennel, leeks, and bit of Pernod, which intensify the snappy licorice-ness of the fennel. After braising the chicken thighs, the whole dish is finished with a showering of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon for brightness. A hunk of good, crusty bread for sopping is all you need to round out this meal.I like to drink wine when I cook and when I eat (also, whenever I can) and thought a medium- to full-bodied Italian white would work well to sip on. Because there are florally, aromatic notes in the dish from the fennel and Pernod, I supposed that something on the drier end would be wise so the two don’t compete for attention.Because I do drink a fair amount of wine, I have a very good relationship with my gem of a local wine store Hudson Wine Merchants. I always ask their advice on wines and love hearing what they have to say, which I fully believe everyone should be doing. (Talk to the people at your local wine store. Trust me—you’ll learn so much!) Luckily they were in agreement with my parameters and pointed me toward a wine from Campania called Cantina di Lisandro Alabranno, which is made from 100% Fiano grapes. This bottle is bright and lively and has fresh but not aggressive acidity, which cuts nicely through the delicate richness of the braise. It’s like sipping on sunshine—and as I impatiently wait for spring to be sprung, this will have to tide me over. With the wine and this beautiful brothy, braise-y dish on my side, I think I might just make it.