Citrus and Fennel Chicken with Olives and Calabrian Chiles


A mix of citrus, buttery olives, and spicy, oil-packed chiles punches up the flavor of braised chicken leg quarters. Toasted fennel seeds and dry sherry add a pleasant warmth to the sauce, which begs to be served with a baguette for sopping. 

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 (12-ounce) chicken leg quarters, patted dry

  • 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • ½ cup lower-sodium chicken broth

  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) dry sherry

  • 1 cup jarred pitted Castelvetrano olives plus 2 tablespoons brine, divided

  • 6 jarred whole Calabrian chiles plus 1/2 tablespoon oil from jar, divided

  • 1 small fennel head (about 14 ounces), bulb cut through core into 3/4-inch-thick wedges, fronds reserved for garnish

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) Cara Cara or navel orange slices

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) lemon slices

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel

  • Baguette, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with 2 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook chicken in oil, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to a large plate. Add garlic head halves, cut sides down, to skillet; cook, undisturbed, until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Transfer to plate with chicken.

  2. Remove skillet from heat, and immediately add fennel seeds to drippings. Off heat, stir constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, sherry, olive brine, chile oil, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Arrange chicken leg quarters, skin sides up, in skillet. Tuck browned garlic halves, fennel wedges, and orange and lemon slices in skillet around chicken. Sprinkle with olives and chiles.

  3. Bring liquid in skillet to a boil over medium-high. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and transfer to preheated oven. Cook until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 130°F, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil, and roast until chicken registers 165°F and fennel is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with preserved lemon peel, and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve with torn baguette.

    Citrus and Fennel Chicken with Olives and Calabrian Chiles
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen


Find Calabrian chiles at specialty grocery stores or online at

Suggested pairing

Spicy Calabrian red: Librandi Duca Sanfelice Cirò Rosso Riserva

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