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from Jennifer Daskevich - Los Angeles, CA
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat large ovenproof sauté pan over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons vegetable oil and heat until almost smoking. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with fresh ground pepper and kosher salt. When the oil is heated, add the thighs skin-side-down and brown until crisp—about five minutes. While the chicken is cooking, cut off the fennel stalks—reserving the fronds (wispy herb part). Cut off the bottom and peel the leaves off and remove the core. Cut the fennel into 1/2 inch by 2 inch pieces. Cover the cherries with 1/4 cup water. Turn the chicken over and sear for 1-2 minutes on second side. Remove to plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sliced fennel to the pan. Cook, stirring often until the fennel is tender and a bit caramelized, about 8-10 minutes.
While fennel is cooking remove 4 thin strips lemon zest from 1 of the lemons and mince the garlic. Add the minced garlic cloves to fennel and stir for 1 minute. Pour in cherries and water and bring to a simmer Stir in the lemon zest strips, 4 of the fresh thyme sprigs and chicken broth. Return to a simmer. Return chicken to pan skin side up. Bring back to a simmer and transfer to oven. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 5 quarts water to a rapid boil with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add noodles and cook for 8 minutes and drain. Mince remaining thyme, fennel fronds, and cut second lemon into lemon wedges.
In last minute of cooking chicken turn on broiler to crisp up skin. Remove chicken from oven, put on a plate and tent with foil. Return pan to stove-top. Remove lemon strips and thyme sprigs, bring sauce to a simmer and squeeze in juice from half a lemon. Add pasta to sauce and mix pasta. Divide sauced pasta among four plates and top with chicken thighs. Garnish with thyme, fennel fronds, and lemon wedges and pour any extra sauce over each dish.
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