Kota me Krasi, Maratho ke Kydoni

Chicken and Fennel Stew with Quince

I FOUND the description for this dish in Ninetta Laskari’s book on Corfu. It’s a typical example of East meeting West, for it shows the distinct influence of the Venetians, who long ruled the island. The pancetta and Marsala in this stew are classic Italian ingredients rarely found in other parts of Greece. The quince in the sauce brings to mind Eastern cooking, where fruits play an important role in meat and game dishes.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 thick slices pancetta (about 6 ounces), diced
  • 1 4-pound free-range chicken or capon, cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 large onions, halved and thickly sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and each cut into 4–5 pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed (fronds and tender stalks reserved), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 quince, halved, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sweet red wine, such as sweet
  • Marsala or Mavrodaphne
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1–2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or ½–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds and tender stalks or fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

In a large, deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté the pancetta over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add the chicken, in batches, and sauté, turning once or twice, for 10 minutes, or until light golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots, fennel bulb and quince and sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic. When it starts to sizzle, return the chicken to the skillet and add the sweet wine, dry wine, bay leaves, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary and salt. The liquid should just cover the chicken—add a little water if necessary. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, turning twice and adding a little more water if necessary, for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the chicken is very tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the chicken and carrots to a serving platter and cover to keep warm. Cook the sauce for about 5 minutes more, or until thickened. If you like, puree the sauce with a stick (immersion) blender or regular blender. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the fennel fronds or parsley and serve, with the remaining sauce on the side.