Those of you that follow me on Facebook will notice that Santa bought me an InstantPot for hexmas, well when I say Santa I mean me and when I say Christmas I mean in the Black Friday sales… Either way I am now the owner of an InstantPot and this Fruity Fennel Chicken Thighs recipe is the first of many recipes I have developed for this fab piece of kit. The purchase was as a replacement for my ailing and knackered nearly 30 year old slow cooker and so far I have been very happy, primarily because I can now braise meat without being tortured by the smell of food as I am sitting home working. Fennel chicken thighs have been a longtime favourite slow cooker recipe for me but have not cooked it for a while for the torture reason. Working from home and slow cooking is not as much fun as it sounds, sitting around with fabulous food aromas in the house is for me torturous so being able to get the same effect in less time is awesome. So now I can indulge in this sumptuous north African inspired recipe with a little heat from the Harissa and all the freshness of Orange without being Mr Hangry all day long 😉
This is not a review of the InstantPot but I keen to share my initial thoughts, my InstantPot Fruity Fennel Chicken Thighs recipe is the first of half a dozen recipes that I have adapted from my repertoire so far and I have been impressed. There are a whole host of features I will likely not use but I love the way pressure cooking holds and intensifies flavours and whilst I am not 100% convinced by the saute function, I find a frying pan on the hob much better, it is an function that certainly cuts down on the washing up. However I did not buy the InstantPot for speed or convenience, I bought a pressure cooker for the intense flavours you can achieve in a relatively short amount of time, so expect more flavour packed recipes like these fennel chicken thighs coming at you in the future.
Cooking these Fruity Fennel Chicken Thighs in an Instantpot reduces the time an old favourite slow cooker recipe cooks by 5 hours.
Course Main Course
50gDried Apricots.Cut in half.
4Chicken Thighs.Bone in Skin On.
Good Grind Black Pepper.
6Garlic Cloves.Bashed a little with the back of a knife.
1TspCornflower.Cornstarch in the US.
Take the orange and remove the zest and set aside.
Then peel the orange and cut out the segments with a sharp knife and again set aside.
The squeeze out the remaining orange juice.
Cut the fennel bulb into 6 wedges (top to tail), if your fennel has some feathery fronds pull them off and set them aside for later.
Take the shallots, cut in half and peel and cut off 2mm of the base, just enough to smarten up the shallot but not too much so that it falls apart.
Set your instant pot to saute and when hot add in the cooking oil and then sear the cut side of the shallots and fennel and when nicely charred after 3-4 minutes set aside, do this in 2 batches.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and again sear off until you get a nice colour on the skin side and remove, again around 3-4 minutes.
Mix together the orange juice from the orange, the lemon juice and add water to make it up to 100ml, then add the honey and harissa paste and mix together.
Cancel the saute function.
Add in the garlic to the bottom of the pan, then layer on the chicken with the skin side up, followed by the fennel and shallots, then sprinkle over the apricots, almonds, orange zest and finally pour over the liquid mixture.
Place the lid on your InstantPot and cook on manual for 12 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release (NPR).
Whilst you are in the NPR phase you can turn on your grill (broiler) to flash under your chicken thighs and orange segments to get a nice caramalisation.
To finish your sauce remove all of the ingredients from the pan and set aside, set your InstantPot to saute and bubble down the sauce with 1 teaspoon of cornflower mixed with 1 teaspoon of water until thickened and check for seasoning.
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