Chicken with Glory-Twig; One Common Plate

The kitchen should always remain the laboratory. Whether it is to reveal the essence of an earthy spice, the nutritional contribution of local legumes or simply to discover a new method of preparation, the cookery is where research and creativity marry in an unbridled dance. In the words of, the great Harvard Psychologist, Boring (yeah, pity of a name), “anyone who knows the difference between work and play doesn’t belong here”.

Found in the 10th century Lacnunga Manuscript

Found in the 10th century Lacnunga Manuscript

Such has been the case in the most recent weekly assignment from 1Common Plate at slurrpy.com; Chicken and Fennel. While fennel bulbs are a local favorite, I chose to focus on the aromatic fennel seed – less common but somewhat exotic. You see, it is not just the flavor or scent that creates its mysticism, rather it is also the lore of a 10th century charm which casts fennel into the magical.

The Nine Herbs Charm is part of the Lacnunga, a collection of Anglo-Saxon medical texts and prayers. In it, is a recipe for pulverizing nine herbs, the last of which is fennel, in order to alleviate poison and infections.

A snake came crawling, it bit a man.
Then Woden took nine glory-twigs,
Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts.
There apple brought this pass against poison,
That she nevermore would enter her house.
Mugwort, plantain open form the east, lamb’s cress, venom-loather, chamomile, nettle, crab-apple, chervil and fennel, old soap; pound the herbs to a powder, mix them with the soap and the juice oaf the apple.

 

While the Anglo-Saxon deity, Woden, used the pulverized glory-twig of fennel in order to conquer snake bite, I chose to used the powdered element in order to conquer boy-hunger. The afflictions are often comparable in my home!

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Chicken and Jerusalem Artichokes with Fennel Seed
serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), peeled
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 boneless, double chicken breasts, split
  • 2 Tbs fennel seed
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk

Directions:

Peel the sunchokes and the garlic. Slice the garlic into halves and cut the sunchokes into halves or quarters. Set aside.

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Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Place fennel seeds in a clean coffee grinder and pulverize. Add the mustard seed and grind until it is a coarse powder. Sprinkle ground spices over both sides of the chicken generously.

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Place a large, deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add olive oil and coat the bottom of the pan. Place chicken in the pan and quickly brown each side. Remove to a warming plate.

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Add the vegetable broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring to loosen any browned bits. Add the sunchokes and garlic cloves. When sunchokes are almost tender, return the chicken together with any juices. Reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes, until chicken and sunchokes are tender. Stir in milk and thyme. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Return to a simmer to heat through.

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Serve with brown basmati rice and green vegetables.

This post is part of 1CommonPlate at slurrpy.com.

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37 Comments

  1. What an interesting post, Tammy. I knew the Jerusalem artichoke reminded me of another vegetable that had not much to do with our usual artichoke : in French, the “topinambour”. An ancient vegetable my parents and grandparents ate earlier on. Today you can find it on farmers’ markets or in some grocers’ shops. I cooked it recently and added some mixed Mediterranean herbs) I never thought of fennel. Next time I will try your recipe, fennel, seeds or bulbs, are very much appreciated here. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Topinambour! How fascinating. I’ve never heard of it. The fennel was a very nice addition.

      Reply
  2. Lisa H

     /  December 29, 2013

    I love fennel…both the plant and the seeds! The seeds are a great breath freshener as well as aiding digestion.
    Your recipe sounds fantastic. Jerusalem artichokes are a tasty treat, something I haven’t made in ages.

    Reply
  3. Are Jerusalem artichokes the same as “sunchokes”? That is one veggie that I’ve never cooked. Didn’t care much for the fennel bulb, but will give these artichokes a try one of these days.

    Reply
  4. Thanks . . . (grabbing iPhone to add same to grocery list!)

    Reply
  5. I adore fennel – I’ve used it in a recipe for red cabbage – but I have never thought of using in it this way. Thanks, Tammy: I shall be giving this one a go.

    Reply
  6. I love these 3 main ingredients but never used them together! I also love fennel seeds & roast them & ground them & add to ground up chicken or pork mince for added flavour! Your dish sounds really tasty! Yummm! :) Happy 2014 to you & your loved ones! xxx

    Reply
  7. Sounds wonderful, Tammy, thanks!

    Reply
  8. I didn’t know fennel was ever called ‘glory-twig’. Chicken and fennel work very well together. Jerusalem artichokes aren’t all that common here so I rarely cook with them. I love them so I should cook them more often xx

    Reply
    • I’m not sure that fennel is called glory-twig but is one of the glory twigs reference in the charm.

      Reply
  9. Sounds delicious! I have seen many artichokes, but I’m not sure about sunchokes. I will watch for them. I live the flavor that fennel seed adds to foods.

    Reply
  10. I love fennel too – this looks absolutely amazing. I shouldn’t read posts like this when I am hungry..

    Happy New Year!

    Reply
  11. I love that you dug out some ancient wisdom again! And the kitchen has to be a lab for sure! :D

    Reply
    • The backstory is important, isn’t it Kath? I need that in order to more appreciate the dish.

      Reply
  12. I just love this post with all its history! Will have to dig it back out when the sunchokes come in….(p.s. what first attracted my attention was laboratory…we are doing some experiments with yeast over here, to get my little guy into the whole leavening thing in the kitchen through the laboratory door!)

    Reply
  13. I love using fennel seeds in my dishes and this sounds delicious :) happy 2014 Tammy!

    Reply
  14. Looks delicious!

    Reply
  15. Very informative, I enjoyed this post. Happy 2014, Tammy.

    Reply
  16. Everything about this recipe appeals to me and I can’t wait to try it. Happy new year, Tammy! Looking forward to many more good reads in 2014 :)

    Reply
  17. I like the idea of the kitchen being the laboratory. How creative! Happy 2014 to you and your family, Tammy.

    Reply
  18. Delicious sounding to me…and this guy ─ I bet he’s happy.. “anyone who knows the difference between work and play doesn’t belong here” And probably not so ‘Boring’ after all..

    Reply

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