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Asha's Fennel Chicken with Clementines & Olives

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Serves 4 to 6

Asha's Fennel Chicken with Clementines & Olives
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

If you're a fan of Asha's iconic Lemony Saffron Chicken with Potatoes, this cozy, saucy one-skillet stunner is for you. Chicken thighs are seasoned with our house Steak Masala — a supercharged, savory blend of black pepper, fennel, Pahadi Pink Garlic, Sirārakhong Hāthei chilli flakes, ajwain, and Surya Salt — are slowly rendered and then braised with seared halves of clementines, wedges of fennel, plenty of white wine, chicken stock, a whole head of garlic, and green olives. The clementines soften, so you can eat the whole fruit, peel and all. Serve with couscous, mashed potatoes, or some nice crusty bread.

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  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6)
  • 2 tablespoons Steak Masala
  • 2 teaspoons Surya Salt
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 head garlic, top ¼ sliced off
  • 3 to 4 clementines, halved
  • 1¼ cups dry white wine
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • 1½ teaspoons maple syrup
  • ½ cup pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, Manzanilla, or Gordal
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • Fennel fronds or fresh dill, for garnishing


  1. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs evenly with the steak masala, then season the meat side with an additional 1 teaspoon Surya Salt. Place in a zip-top bag or container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 48 hours (we love at least an overnight rest to really let the spices do their magic).
  2. Remove the seasoned chicken thighs 30 minutes before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. Place the olive oil in a cold cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet. Place the chicken, skin side down in the pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the chicken slowly until the fat begins to render and the skin turns golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Don’t rush this step, the rendered fat will make for an extra luscious sauce, plus you don’t want to burn the spices on the chicken. Flip the chicken and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pan, and set aside.
  5. Increase the heat to medium high and add the fennel wedges, garlic head, and caramelize on one side, 2 to 4 minutes, and then transfer them to the plate with the chicken. Add the clementines, cut side down, and cook until caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer them to the plate with the chicken.
  6. Add the white wine and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until it reduces by ¼, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock, maple syrup, olives, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Arrange the chicken thighs in the skillet and nestle the fennel, garlic, and clementines around the chicken, making sure to keep the chicken skin above the liquid. Bake, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and transfer to a plate. In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and flour. Push the vegetables and clementines to the sides of the pan, add the butter-flour mixture to the open space, and whisk in. Add the chicken back in and place over medium heat until the sauce is simmering and thickens slightly, so it just clings to the back of a spoon. Garnish with fennel fronds or dill, and serve directly from the skillet or transfer to a shallow serving bowl or platter.

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