French Orange & Fennel Braised Provencal Chicken Recipe

Provencal Chicken is our favourite recipe to cook at home inspired by a family trip to the South of France.

This classic take on Poulet à la Provençale is one of our family’s favourite recipes to cook at home when craving a tasty vacation to Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, Cassis and Nice.

Our quick and easy braised Provencal Chicken recipe is cooked over the stove in a Dutch Oven, ready to serve in under an hour.

You’ll love cooking our flavourful and healthy Chicken Provencal recipe featuring tender chicken thighs, olive oil, red onion, fennel, tomato paste, garlic, red pepper flakes, orange zest and juice, dry white wine, saffron and fresh basil.

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Save our Orange & Fennel French Provencal Chicken recipe to Pinterest
Save our Orange & Fennel French Provencal Chicken recipe to Pinterest

What Is Provencal Chicken?

Provencal Chicken is a popular dish from the South France.

Provence is located in southeastern France, extending from the Rhone to the west, Italian border in the east, and Mediterranean Sea to the south.

The Romans made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into its present name. Until 1481 it was ruled by the Counts of Provence from their capital in Aix-en-Provence, then became a province of the Kings of France. While it has been part of France for more than 500 years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, particularly in the interior of the region.

The cuisine of Provence is the result of the warm, dry Mediterranean climate; the rugged landscape, good for grazing sheep and goats but, outside of the Rhône Valley, poor soil for large-scale agriculture; and the abundant seafood on the coast.

Provencal Chicken recipes can vary considerably based on each homecooks family tradition or what’s available to a restaurant chef during a particular time of year. The emphasis should always be on using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients.

Some Provencal Chicken recipes include ingredients like olives, cherry tomatoes, and sweet dates. Our take on classic Chicken Provencal celebrates the flavours of Spring and Summer, featuring sliced fennel, juicy oranges, fresh basil and fragrant saffron.

Traditional Provencal Chicken recipe ingredients.
Traditional Provencal Chicken recipe ingredients.

Travel to France by Making Provencal Chicken at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, France, Malta and Italy.

As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Europe, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.

What I love most about traveling to France is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Paris and Versailles are unique to what you might find on restaurant menus in Normandy, Chateauneuf de Pape, Provence, Epernay, Reims, Dijon and Annecy.

In high school my family went on our first vacation to Europe. We planned an epic summer road trip of France, which had us spending several days in Provence, eating our way through destinations like Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles and Cassis.

We dined out at so many local restaurants that showcased a taste of regional and seasonal cuisine. One of my favourite meals was traditional Provencal Chicken, which had been prepared with fennel, fresh herbs, orange juice and local white wine.

Once back home from a French holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of the South of France and can impress friends and family by making our homemade Provencal Chicken recipe.

You May Also Enjoy These French Recipes…

Our easy Provencal Chicken recipe features chicken thighs, red onions and fennel.
Our easy Provencal Chicken recipe features chicken thighs, red onions and fennel.

Where To Eat Chicken Provencal

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local French restaurant that serves their own tasty version of Provencal Chicken.

Haven’t traveled to France before? It may be helpful to first sample Provencal Chicken at a local French restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine if you prefer to roast or braise chicken breasts or thighs and the perfect Provençal ingredients you’d like to flavour the dish with.

In Toronto you’re most likely to find Chicken Provencal at French restaurants like Maison SelbyLa PaletteLa Societe French BistroLe Select BistroCafe Boulud at Four Seasons HotelAloetteAuberge du PommierCluny BistroCafe CancanCoffee Oysters ChampagneChabrol, and Union.

Our healthy Provencal Chicken recipe is a stew, braised in a large pot over the stove.
Our healthy Provencal Chicken recipe is a stew, braised in a large pot over the stove.

My Family Loves Provencal Chicken

My family loves cooking authentic French food.

Some of our favourite family recipes are inspired by our road trip of France, such as my dads popular Beef Bourguignon, which we enjoyed eating in Dijon during a wine tour of Burgundy.

I made this Provencal Chicken recipe at our cottage in Muskoka on a lovely summer evening. I prefer to braise the dish into a stew like consistency rather than roasting it in the oven. The chicken gets really tender and is lower in fat as the skin has been removed.

The major flavours in this chicken dish come from freshly squeezed orange juice, sliced fennel, saffron, white wine and freshly plucked basil from our backyard herb garden.

We like to serve it with roasted potatoes, crusty sourdough bread, a fresh salad and French cheese board.

This stew from the South of France features tender chicken, fennel, orange, basil and saffron.
This stew from the South of France features tender chicken, fennel, orange, basil and saffron.

Health Benefits

Our homemade Provencal Chicken recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.   

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.

The potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Fennel contains significant amounts of fibre. 

Oranges are known as an excellent source of Vitamin C, vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

The eugenol in basil can block calcium channels, which may help to lower blood pressure. The essential oils in the herb can help to lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. Basil also contains magnesium, which can help to improve blood flow by allowing muscles and blood vessels to relax.

Garnish Provencal Chicken with slices of fresh orange and a sprig of basil.
Garnish Provencal Chicken with slices of fresh orange and a sprig of basil.

Recipe Cooking Tips

This homemade Provencal Chicken recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • We suggest using a large pot or Dutch Oven to cook the French chicken stew over the stove.
  • We like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe as they are full of flavour and get very tender when braised in liquid. You can use sliced chicken breasts when making this recipe but do note the meat can get tough and dry out easily so keep an eye on them when they are simmering and adjust the time accordingly.
  • We’ve used sliced red onions in this recipe but you could also use French shallots or sweet Vidalia onions if you prefer.
  • We’ve used red pepper flakes in the recipe to give the sauce a bit of heat but if you don’t like spicy food feel free to omit.
  • If you want to be really authentic when making this recipe purchase a bottle of white wine produced in Provence. Visit your local wine shop and look for Rhône varieties such as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache blanc, Marsanne and Viognier as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Rolle and Ugni blanc. 
  • We used fresh basil in this recipe as it was in season in our backyard herb garden, and pairs so nicely with juicy citrus. You can also flavour the dish with Herbs de Provence, which is a mixture of regional herbs including thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf.
Traditional Provencal Chicken Photo Image.
Traditional Provencal Chicken Photo Image.

What To Serve with Provencal Chicken

We like to serve this comforting chicken stew with crispy roasted potatoes, crusty sourdough bread and a fresh salad.

We often serve the dish with a cold glass of Rhône white wine alongside a cheese board featuring French varieties like Raclette, Brie, Vache Maigre, Morbier, Saint Paulin, Beaufort, Boursin, Camembert and Mimolette

Here are some of our favourite fresh salad recipes to serve with Chicken Provencal:

Provencal Chicken is our favourite main course entree from the South of France.
Provencal Chicken is our favourite main course entree from the South of France.

You May Also Enjoy These Chicken Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Provencal Chicken recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Provencal Chicken recipe!

How To Make Traditional Provencal Chicken

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Provencal Chicken

How to make traditional Provencal Chicken. Our easy healthy Chicken Provencal recipe features onion, garlic, orange, fennel, basil & wine.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Provencal Chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 500kcal

Equipment

  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Dutch Oven
  • Mixing bowls
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Red Onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Medium Fennel Bulb thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Wide Strips Orange Zest (2 inches long)
  • 2 tbsp Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 tsp Saffron Threads
  • 1 cup Fresh Basil torn

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, fennel and 1/2 tsp salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, garlic, pepper flakes, and orange zest. Cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste begins to darken and stick to the pot, about 4 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the wine. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken, 1.5 cups of water and the saffron, then stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Off heat, remove and discard the zest strips. Stir in the orange juice and half the basil, then taste and season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining basil.

Nutrition

Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.9g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 25.5g | Saturated Fat: 5.3g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 849mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 3.1g | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg

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