Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon Fennel Relish

Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon and Fennel Relish

Today I have a simple recipe for you, and a great way to jazz up those weeknight chicken breasts. Ovi and I end up eating a lot of chicken. It’s cheap, healthy, full of lean protein and really quick. Chicken breasts are perfect for weeknights, which means of course that they can get pretty monotonous. No more monotony, friends of the internet. Lemons and fennel are here to save the day. This lemon fennel relish can be made up to 2 whole weeks in advance and used to brighten up your meals for as long as it lasts.

Meyer lemons are much more subtle, and significantly less acidic than your average thicker skinned lemon. Their thin orange-yellow skins are simmered and reduced with subtle anise flavored fennel and sweet brown onion for an exciting topping to weeknight chicken, fish, or anything you can think of.

 Meyer Lemon and Fennel Relish

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I apologize for the sincerely pathetic amount of recipes I’ve shared (exactly 1)  since the new year started. Sorry friends, I am a world-class procrastinator. Actually, now that we’re well into February I will declare my new year’s resolutions:

1. Stop using so many dang exclamation points in my blog posts, emails, and pretty much everywhere. I’ve also been infected with the emoticon bug, but you know….one thing at a time. Fitzgerald said using exclamation points was akin to laughing at your own jokes. Who am I kidding, I do that too. I totally laugh at my own jokes.

2. Shower before I hit the internet. I have a bad habit of waking up, making coffee, and going straight to the computer. Then, before I know it the internet has eaten all of my morning; I have eaten nothing, and have exactly 12 minutes to get ready and get out the door. For shame Julie, for shame. Breakfast and showers first, from now on.

Pretty doable, I think. Basically just trying to be better at being a grown-up, though I suspect it’s never going to be easy. Do you have any simple resolutions that you would like to share? Anything major perhaps? Let’s kick 2013’s butt.  Anyway, enough rambling…on with the recipe.

Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon and Fennel Relish

Recipe adapted from Bon Apetit’s 2012 “Food Lover’s Cleanse”


  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb (about 8 oz.) trimmed,
  • diced into 1/4” pieces
  • 1 onion (8 oz.), trimmed, cut into 1/4”
  • pieces
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 4 tsp. (plus more) honey
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  • Cut lemons in eighths and trim out any seeds and strings.
  • Then coarsely chop both the remaining lemon peel and flesh. Set aside. Heat oil in a large nonreactive saute pan (such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum, enamel, or nonstick) over medium-high heat.
  • Toss in fennel, onion, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add honey, salt, reserved lemon, and 1/2 cup water and turn heat to medium. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is completely reduced.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and more honey, if desired.

Do Ahead:

  • Cover and chill relish in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Here’s how I do my simple weeknight chicken breasts. They turn out consistently juicy and evenly cooked for me with this method.

  • Pound to an even 1/2 inch thickness under some plastic wrap. We’re not pulverizing it, just flattening it out so it cooks evenly.
  • Season each side with salt and pepper, and lightly dust each side with flour
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet (I prefer nonstick) with one tablespoon olive oil, and bring pan to medium heat
  • Add breasts to pan (they should sizzle right away or the pan isn’t hot enough) and cook for 5 minutes on the first side
  • Flip, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat, cover and let chicken rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your meal.



Mmmm I can smell and taste this one from looking at the pictures again. I really liked the relish, and will probably make it again. I was a little concerned that the lemon peel would be too bitter, but was pleasantly surprised. Meyer lemons are just gorgeous and subtle.

Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon and Fennel Relish  Meyer Lemon and Fennel Relish

PS: I have an entire week of lemon recipes coming for you! Meyer lemons are available readily in California this time of year, and are perfect for any recipe where lemon is the main flavor component. I bought 5 pounds of them for 5 bucks at costco, and ended up going back for another 5 pounds the next week. I’m crazy for lemons!

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2 thoughts on “Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon Fennel Relish

  1. Pingback: Buttery Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake | Happy Good Time Blog

  2. Pingback: Chicken with orange sauce | Chef Doru's Blog

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