Gluten free and low FODMAP orange and fennel chicken thighs! With feta and olives and the best crispy chicken skin. This, friends, is such a simple, colourful dish that requires minimal effort and all comes together in one pot. After a few minutes of frying chicken on the hob – gotta get that crispy skin – the oven does all the hard work in this recipe, leaving you time to think about what you’re going to serve it with (pictured: silky sour cream mash, but rice or greens are also good).
The fennel cooks almost like (low FODMAP!) onions, melting down and getting slightly charred at the edges; the aniseedy flavour mellowing as it roasts. Maple syrup encourages the mingling of everything together to create a sweet, sticky sauce. Olives add tang while creamy feta and herby parsley finish everything off. With few ingredients, buy the best quality you can afford for maximum flavour.
There are three main varieties of blood orange: Tarocco (December-May); Moro (January-February); and Sanguinello (March-May). Their colours vary from lightly blushing to deep ruby red, but all have short seasons at the start of the year, so get your hands on them while you can! Search for blood oranges that feel heavy for their size and that are firm to the touch – I buy them from my local greengrocers but most supermarkets sell them now too. Sweet and refreshing, their tart and tangy juice cuts through the delicious fat from the chicken thighs, but regular navel oranges also work wonderfully in this recipe if you’re out of luck.
Recipe notes for these v. sumptuous low FODMAP orange and fennel chicken thighs:
garlic infused olive oil
6 good quality skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
1 teaspoon sea salt
150g fennel, trimmed and finely sliced
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 blood oranges
75g green olives, pitted and halved
small bunch parsley, leaves picked
extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Add a splash of garlic infused olive oil to an oven proof frying pan or cast iron pan and place over a medium heat.
Sprinkle the salt over the chicken thighs and add them to the pan, skin-side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp. Flip the chicken over and turn off the heat. Add the fennel to the pan and nestle it around the chicken. Drizzle over the maple syrup and bake for 10 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, peel the blood oranges and slice them into discs. Remove the pan from the oven and add the blood oranges and olives. If it feels like there’s too much liquid in the pan, you can spoon some out and reserve it for the sauce at the end. Return the pan to the oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Transfer the chicken, fennel, oranges and olives to a serving platter. Put the remaining pan juices back over a high heat, adding in any liquid you reserved from earlier. Stir and cook down for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then crumble over the feta. Sprinkle with parsley leaves and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil, if you like.
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