Chicken Casserole with Fennel, Lemon, Garlic and Mushrooms

I've no idea where this idea came from, as I'd originally intended to make a chicken chasseur.   When I opened the fridge though, I had an excellent head of fennel, amazing lemons, some beautiful pink garlic and some of my new favourite king oyster mushrooms. It reminded me of one of my absolute favourite summer lunches - finely sliced fennel, served with a garlic and lemon dressing, and seared chicken breasts which have been marinated in garlic and lemon juice.  I think it just seemed logical to give it a go...

Not everything is going to work each time you take a punt, but I'm sure there's a similar Greek dish that I think contain olives...  As I've never been to Greece, it's not something I've tasted, but it seemed to make sense in a Mediterranean kind of way...


4 good organic chicken breasts
4 king oyster mushrooms
1/2 a large head of fennel
2 shallots
3 tablespoons of plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic
800ml good chicken stock


  • Butterfly the chicken breasts and cut them in half lengthways 
  • Dust the breasts in well-seasoned flour
  • Heat a tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a pan, and fry the breast until crusty and golden - do not move them around in the pan, you want the crust to stay on the chicken.  Only fry up to three breasts at a time too, so that you don't overcrowd the pan
  • Removed the chicken and set aside 
  • Roughly chop half a large head of fennel into rough dice
  • Cut of about 1/4 of the king oyster mushroom and set the tops aside, roughly dice the remaining 3/4 of the stalk
  • Chop an equivalent amount of shallots roughly, and then sauté the mushrooms, fennel, two garlic cloves finely sliced and shallots in the pan, scraping up the chicken juices.  Do add more butter or oil if the pan is too dry
  • When everything has softened, deglaze the pan with about a glass of marsala
  • Add 1/2 bottle of white wine to the pan 
  • Finely slice the mushroom tops - I didn't fry them, I poached them in the pan and in the white wine - because king oyster mushrooms are so flesh and meaty, I wanted to keep them tender
  • Peel a lemon and cut into segments - I cut mine lengthways vertically, then into quarters, then cut the quarters into halves horizontally
  • Put the chicken and lemon segments back into the dish, and add 500ml of good chicken stock
  • Put the casserole dish into the oven for at least an hour, I left mine at 160ºC for two hours.  If you needed it faster, you could raise the temperature up to 180ºC
  • I served mine with green beans.

  • If you don't like lemon chicken, you're going to loathe this, avoid at all costs
  • If you like lemon chicken, you're going to LOVE this... It's much more complex than lemon chicken, the chicken stock adds a certain savouriness that rounds out the sourness of the lemon segments
  • You could easily add marinated olives to this, the saltiness would add another flavour dimension (in fact I even have lemon stuffed olives in my pantry, perhaps I'll add them next time!)

Chop the fennel and 3/4 of the mushroom stalk into rough dice.
Slice the top of the mushroom top into slices.
The chicken, before it goes into the oven
Chicken casserole with fennel, lemon, garlic and mushrooms