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Cooking Food

Chicken with Fennel and Grapes

Recently, I read Gary Taube’s piece on obesity in Newsweek (for a consolidated summary of the article, read Laura Pappas’ post here). It’s good; you should read it. It reminded of what I already knew: refined sugars and grains, bad; meat and leafy green vegetables, good. But after having spent the last week eating jam, I needed a reminder.

I’m not very draconian about avoiding refined sugars and grains, partly because I try to practice moderation, but mostly because I like how they taste. And you’ll never be able to save a bowl of french fries with parmesan and truffle oil from my rabid consumption. Still, I’m at the mortifying age where friends on Facebook starting to talk about things like cholesterol and blood pressure, so it’s probably time to up the diligence a bit on that end.

All this to say that I feel that for having shared the jam recipe with you, I need to do penance for contributing to the world’s obesity epidemic. (I am reminded of a time in business school where we had to sit through a bunch of presentations on projects we did for a pharmaceutical company. I came in late and Kim, one of my classmates, kept talking about OB City. I was tired and recovering from a spirited evening (meaning an evening that involved imbibing spirits) and getting more confused as she went on. Finally, I leaned over and whispered to another classmate, “Where the heck is OB City?!?” whereupon he looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “It’s obesity.”)

But there’s good news: there is such thing as healthy and delicious! Because I won’t compromise on delicious. So here’s an easy recipe I put together with things that came in our CSA delivery: chicken with fennel and grapes. Salty and crispy with a tangy sweet kick — yum.

So, grab some chicken — here I used bone-in thighs, since I like the size and how they stay tender and juicy. I was cooking for a crowd, so you might use less chicken. Because eating this much by yourself would probably land you in OB City.

Season both sides generously with salt and paprika — take a look at the picture above for a sense of how the paprika should be distributed. Lay them in a baking dish, skin side up, maximizing the surface area that’s exposed on top.

Slice up some fennel bulbs into thin pieces (save the fronds for another use; I put them atop salads or in my Eggs Benedict California), and nestle it under the chicken.

Pull off a handful of grapes, and nestle under the chicken, placing a few on top. You can see in the picture below a better view of how I sliced the fennel.

I had some excess fennel and grapes so I put them on top of the chicken.

Stick it in the oven, bake, baste to make the skin crispy, and serve! I served it with plain quinoa and some simple broccoli.

CHICKEN WITH FENNEL AND GRAPES

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp paprika

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and paprika on both sides. Put into a baking dish skin side up.

Slice the fennel bulb into 1/4 inch slices, saving the fronds for a future use. Separate grapes from stems and nestle bulbs and grapes under and around chicken.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Baste chicken skins with juices and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Makes 4 servings.