Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's it eating these days?

While I waited for my three-anise chicken to cook I drank a small toast to Robert Mondavi. I'm not sure he would have appreciated the fact that it was a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc, but I did.

Jen over at Last Nights Dinner had a delicious-looking picture on her blog recently of what looked a lot like the weirdly-named chicken bouillabaisse that my friend Molly used to cook, very well, for dinners in the hot kitchen on Tenth Street. It was from Patricia Wells' Bistro Cookbook - a lovely book that speaks to (of, really) the kind of food I prefer to eat. My mom's! So suddenly I wanted fennely chicken and remembered that I had the ingredient I usually lack: Pernod. All I needed was the fennel.

I used chicken wings, because they are my favourite chicken-part, but thighs would work very well , too. Into my Le Creuset went: one packet chicken wings; one roughly chopped fennel bulb; one large, roughly chopped vidalia onion (ordinary onion is fine, any colour); about a cup of cherry tomatoes; several whole garlic cloves, a good slosh of pernod (about half a cup?) and my smug crown, some sprigs of terrace tarragon. Hence THREE anise chicken. You can leave this overnight in the fridge to improve, but I put mine straight to simmer on the stove, with salt and pepper, need I add? Once it was bubbling I turned the flame down low, and covered it. It makes a lot of liquid. Once there was enough to almost cover the wings (about half an hour) I transferred it to a 400 oven for about an hour, topping up with a little water at the end if it looked too low on juice. I do the oven-thing because I like some caramelisation and brown bits.

The result is creamy and quite sweet. It would be improved by a pinch of saffron.

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