Baked fennel chicken with morel and madeira sauce

Fresh morels, fennel and peas bring a burst of spring flavours to this seasonal dish from Matt Tebbutt
By Matt Tebbutt
Baked fennel chicken with morel and madeira sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the baked fennel chicken

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on
  • 4 baby fennel, halved lengthways
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 75 ml madeira
  • 500 ml chicken stock

For the sauce

  • 100 g fresh or frozen peas
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • few sprigs thyme
  • 100 g fresh morel mushrooms, (or 25g dried morels soaked in hot water for 15 minutes)
  • 75 ml madeira
  • pea shoots, to garnish (optional)


1. For the baked fennel chicken: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan or casserole over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper and fry in the hot pan for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden-brown.

3. Turn the chicken so that it's skin side-up and add the baby fennel, onion, garlic and fennel seeds to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are softened and translucent then pour in the madeira and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced in volume by half.

4. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer then transfer to the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

5. For the sauce: while the chicken is cooking, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and boil the peas for 2 minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

6. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the shallots and fry gently with the bay leaves and thyme for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are softened and translucent.

7. Stir in the morels and madeira and simmer for 5 minutes until the morels are softened and the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Stir in the peas and keep warm.

8. To finish the chicken, preheat the grill to high. Place the pan under the hot grill for 2-3 minutes, until the chicken skin is crisp.

9. Spoon over the morel sauce, garnish with pea shoots and serve.

Rate This Recipe