Chicken with saffron, fennel and red-pepper rouille

Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Similar to a bouillabaisse but using chicken instead of fish, this is one of my favourite things to eat at this time of year.

11/2tbsp olive oil
1 chicken, cut into eighths
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 fresh bay leaves
5 sprigs of thyme
30 saffron threads
2 fennel bulbs, tougher outer leaves removed and cut into eighths
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
250ml/8fl oz white wine
The peel of one orange
500g/1lb chopped ripe tomatoes, seeds removed
2tbsp Pernod
Sea salt and black pepper

For the rouille

3 organic free-range eggs
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 red pepper, roasted, skin and seeds removed
1 slice of chewy, peasant-style stalk bread, softened with a little warm water
2tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 dried red chilli
Sea salt
220ml/71/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

Start by making the rouille. Place the egg yolks, garlic, red pepper, bread, vinegar, chilli and a good pinch of salt into a Magimix. Turn on, and pour the oil in through the funnel as slowly as possible. When finished, you should have a thick, orangey-coloured mayonnaise. Set aside.

For the chicken, season all over with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in the oil and, when hot, lay the chicken in the pan skin-side down and brown well. Turn and do the same on the other side. This will take a good five minutes.

Remove the chicken and pour off any fat from the pan. Add the onion, bay leaves and thyme and cook gently for 10 minutes then add the saffron, fennel and garlic.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, then add the wine and orange peel. Turn up the heat slightly so the wine bubbles and boils, add the tomatoes and return the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook for 25 minutes.

Finally, add the Pernod, sea salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve in soup dishes with a dollop of rouille on the top.

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