Mary Berry’s chicken and fennel fricassee with tarragon

We often have friends round for a midweek supper and this chicken fricassee is a perfect dish to make ahead. We like chicken thighs, skinned but left on the bone for full flavour, but you could also use skinned chicken breasts. These only need to cook for 30 minutes.

mary berry simple comforts chicken and fennel fricassee recipe
Laura Edwards


PREPARE AHEAD Can be made up to a day ahead, but add the tarragon once reheated.

FREEZE Freezes well.

2 tbsp olive oil
8 bone-in chicken thighs or 6 chicken breasts, skinned
2 onions, cut into thin wedges
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thickly sliced
100ml (3½fl oz) dry sherry
200ml (7fl oz) chicken stock
2 tbsp cornflour
200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche
small bunch of tarragon, chopped
½ tsp caster sugar
juice of ½ lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

You will need a deep sauté pan or frying pan with a lid or a flameproof and ovenproof casserole dish.

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

2. Heat the pan until hot, then add the oil. Season the chicken and fry quickly over a high heat until golden and sealed all over. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the onions and fennel to the unwashed pan and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring. Pour in the sherry and boil over a high heat to reduce by half. Pour in the stock, return the chicken to the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender (about 30 minutes if using breasts).

4. Measure the cornflour into a small bowl, add a little cold water and stir until smooth.

5. Transfer the pan to the hob, remove the lid and stir in the crème fraîche. Then add the cornflour mixture and stir over the heat until the sauce has thickened. Add the tarragon, sugar and lemon juice and check for seasoning. Serve piping hot, with rice or mash and heaps of wilted spinach.

Now buy the book with £14 off

mary berry simple comforts recipes

Our recipes are from Simple Comforts by Mary Berry, which will be published on 17 September by BBC Books, price £26. to order a copy for £12 until 20 September go to and enter the code YOUMARY at the checkout. Book number: 9781785945076. For terms and conditions, see