Lemon-Garlic Chicken Thighs With Fennel

Fennel’s mild licorice flavor pairs well with garlic and lemon in this easy chicken dish.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken Thighs With Fennel

This sauté is a tasty example of how fresh, flavorful ingredients combine to create something special. The licorice quality of the fennel can be surprising, but balanced with garlic and lemon, it’s delightful and satisfying.

Makes two to four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 2 tsp. ghee
  • 3 tbs. almond flour
  • 1 tsp. plus 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, sliced crosswise into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbs. fennel fronds, minced
  • 1/2 lemon


  • To make almond “dust,” warm the ghee in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almond flour and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flour is toasty brown, about two minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. As the mixture cools, the fat will solidify and the almond dust will become crumbly.
  • Slice the chicken thighs into 1/4-inch-wide strips and toss with salt and pepper.
  • Warm 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and toss to coat in oil. Then spread in a single layer; cook undisturbed for three minutes. Flip the chicken with a spatula, separating the pieces, and cook an additional three minutes. Cook until the chicken is browned and sizzling on all sides, five to six minutes more. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
  • Add the fennel to the skillet, and toss to coat it in the remaining chicken fat. (If there is not enough fat, first add 1 tablespoon olive oil and warm it over medium-high heat for two to three minutes.) Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium; cook fennel for two minutes.
  • Remove the lid from the skillet and sauté the fennel until it begins to soften and show a few brown spots. Push the fennel to the side of the pan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, then drop the crushed garlic and pepper flakes into the oil. Stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken and accumulated juices to the pan. Stir to combine and cook for one to two minutes longer, until browned. Remove the skillet from heat, stir in the reserved fennel fronds, and squeeze the juice from the lemon over top.
  • Serve divided among individual plates and sprinkled with the almond dust.

Reprinted with permission from Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less by Melissa Joulwan, photography by David Humphreys, published on November 1, 2016, by Greenleaf Book Group Press. Copyright © 2016 by Melissa Joulwan.

Why No Numbers? Readers sometimes ask us why we don’t publish nutrition information with our recipes. We believe that (barring specific medical advice to the contrary) if you’re eating primarily whole, healthy foods — an array of sustainably raised vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, fish, eggs, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats and oils — you probably don’t need to stress about the numbers. We prefer to focus on food quality and trust our bodies to tell us what we need.  — The Editors

Photography by David Humphreys

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