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Baked Chicken with Citrus, Fennel & Olives

Sardinians love to braise meat with olives, to impart a delicious, olive-scented saltiness, and they also love to cook fennel beneath braising meat, so it becomes soft and sweet with the meat juices. This chicken tray-bake with orange and fennel, which is based on a brilliant Nigella recipe, and which I made many times in England, gets the Sardinian treatment, a dish which has become a staple in our home.

Feeds 4-6

8 chicken thighs

2 bulbs fresh fennel

2 tsp fennel seeds

3 tsp Dijon mustard

2 Seville oranges, zest and juice (you can use one normal orange and one lemon if you cannot find Sevilles)

650ml white wine

60ml Extra virgin Olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

A handful of green olives

Make a marinade with the citrus juice and zest, mustard, oil, salt, fennel seeds and wine.

Slice each fennel bulb into quarters lengthways, and then each quarter lengthways into three.

Place the chicken, the fennel slices and the marinade in a sealable plastic bag, seal well and leave in a dish/bowl in the fridge overnight, or for at least a couple of hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 200. Decant the entire contents of the bag onto the base of the dish, arranging the chicken, skin side up, on top. Scatter over the olives, willy-nilly. Drizzle an extra bit of oil on top of the chicken (to help it brown). Place the dish in the oven and cook for one hour, until the chicken is brown and the fennel is tender.

Remove from the oven and reduce the sauce for a minute or two, either by placing the whole dish over the hob, or decanting the liquid and reducing it into a separate saucepan. It should become a delicious sticky ‘gravy’ consistency.

Serve, with the sauce drizzled over, and some fresh fennel fronds on top.


I am cooking this on Saturday for 12 ! But I had lost the second part of the recipe (had saved paper copy in scrap book). So planned to slow cook it as am working all day tomorow. Made it to marinade stage this am. Then found end of recipe onlline and it says bake it! Stupidly fenickity question but if I brown it first then slow cook it would that be too far an abomination from the dish?


Letitia Clark
Letitia Clark
May 11, 2020

How lovely! Thank you for letting me know! X


Thank you so much for this delightful and delicious chicken recipe. I made it for (Canadian) Mother's Day and it was an absolute hit. I served it alongside silky smooth olive oil mashed potatoes, also inspired by your Instagram posts. So excited to receive your cookbook! – Olivia


Letitia Clark
Letitia Clark
May 09, 2020

Hello Lyn - thank you for your message. I’m afraid there was a typo in the recipe with the quantity of wine, as you noticed, which I have amended. The recipe in the Times however was printed correctly - perhaps the liquid quantities vary inevitably depending on your chicken (some will release more juices than others) and also on the temperature of your oven etc. I’m sorry if you were disappointed with the result! I will cook it again myself just to see anyway. It’s good to know your feedback and I appreciate lots of people prefer more accurate measurements, so I will try to always provide them in the future! Wishing you all the best, Letitia


I made your chicken with citrus, fennel etc from the recipe in the Times magazine EAT section.

I thought 650 ml of wine was quite a lot so put in 600. No amount of trying to reduce the final

juices quite managed the description of “sticky, gravy-like”. It was, nevertheless easy to prepare

and delicious. Afterwards I checked the ingredients on your blog and was astonished to find that it says 6560ml of white wine! I hate cooking and having been in self isolation with my spouse after being out of the country, followed by lockdown. All my worst nightmares have now come true. People like me need accurate recipes. I love your enthusiasm and creativity and will hav…

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