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Chicken Bouillabaisse

Chicken Bouillabaisse

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 130 minutes
Servings: 6
In our version of bouillabaisse, the Provençal seafood stew, chicken stands in for the traditional fish and shellfish. This recipe calls for simmering the backbone along with the chicken, which imparts rich flavor to the finished dish.


  • 1 chicken, 4 to 5 lb., cut into serving pieces,
     including backbone
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, 1 quartered, 1 diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, stems and fronds
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs. chicken demi-glace
  • 1 1⁄4 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut 1⁄2 inch thick
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tsp. Pernod (optional)
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh chervil
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 6 slices toasted country bread
  • 6 Tbs. aioli


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the oil. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Add the quartered onion, garlic, fennel stems, water, stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat nearly falls off the bones, about 1 1¿2 hours. Discard the onion, garlic, fennel stems, bay leaves and backbone.

Transfer the chicken to a colander and let cool. Cut the meat into 1¿2-inch pieces; discard the skin and bones. Skim the fat off the stock and whisk in the demi-glace.

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the diced onion and sliced fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the stock along with the potatoes, saffron and Pernod. Set the pot over medium heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken, chervil, tarragon and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve with toasted bread and aioli. Serves 6.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen