Fennel and Pear Chicken Thighs

The mild licorice-like flavor of fennel tastes terrific with the pears in this family-pleasing dish. Because the pears are dried rather than fresh, you can make this chicken any time of year.



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Ingredients
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    1   
    medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
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    2  6 - 7  ounce jar (drained weight) 
    sliced mushrooms, drained
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    1/2  cup 
    coarsely snipped dried pears
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    2   tablespoons 
    quick-cooking tapioca, finely ground
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    2 1/2  pounds 
    skinless, boneless chicken thighs
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    3/4  teaspoon 
    salt
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    1/2  teaspoon 
    dried thyme, crushed
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    1/2  teaspoon 
    cracked black pepper
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    1   cup 
    pear nectar or apple juice
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    Hot cooked couscous or rice
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    Fennel tops (optional)

Directions
1.
In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine sliced fennel, mushrooms, and dried pears. Sprinkle with tapioca. Add chicken thighs; sprinkle with salt, thyme, and pepper. Pour pear nectar over mixture in cooker.
2.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
3.
Serve chicken mixture with hot cooked couscous. If desired, garnish with fennel tops. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 407, Fat, total (g) 7, chol. (mg) 157, sat. fat (g) 2, carb. (g) 41, fiber (g) 4, pro. (g) 42, sodium (mg) 657, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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