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.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (4 to 6 thighs)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 1/3 cups)

  • 2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (light green and white parts only) (about 2 cups)

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup Pernod

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed

  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh tarragon, for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fennel fronds, for garnish

  • Lemon wedges and flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)


  1. Season chicken thighs with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken thighs, skin side down; cook, undisturbed, until nicely browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and brown other side, 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.

  2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan; return to medium-low heat. Add fennel and leeks; cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Stir in Pernod, scraping up any browned bits that have formed at the bottom of the pan. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  3. Return chicken to pan along with any residual juices. Pour in enough of the stock to come halfway up chicken thighs; bring to a simmer. Partially cover, and cook until chicken is done and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. To serve, spoon the braising liquid around the chicken with a showering of the tarragon and fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges and flaky salt, if desired.

    Brothy Braised Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Pernod
    Antonis Achilleos
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