low-calorie cooking oil spray
625 g (14 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced, green fronds reserved
2 leeks, thinly sliced, white and green parts kept separate
350 ml (12 fl oz) chicken stock
finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 orange
2 teaspoons cornflour
salt and pepper


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Spray a large frying pan with a little low-calorie cooking oil spray and place over a high heat until hot
2. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once, until browned on both sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.
3.Add the fennel and white leek slices to the frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until just beginning to soften, then add the stock and orange rind and juice.
4. Mix the cornlour to a smooth paste with a little cold water and stir into the pan. Season to taste and bring to the boil, stirring.
5.Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker pot, arrange the chicken pieces on top in a single layer and press into the liquid.
6.Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours until the chicken is cooked through. Add the reserved green leek slices, stir into the sauce, cover again and cook, still on low, for 30 minutes. Serve garnished with the reserved fennel fronds.
7.FOR BRAISED MUSTARD CHICKEN & LEEKS, follow the recipe above, using 75 g (3 oz) diced lean back bacon rashers instead of the fennel.
8.Use 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard instead of the orange rind and juice and cook as above. Gamish with chopped parsley.

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