Allison Malec is a Marketing Manager at Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor at The Recipe Club. She lives in New York City, and loves to cook, bake and eat. She loves anything sweet, especially Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies, Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crunch Ice Cream, and Vanilla Mr. Softee cones with rainbow sprinkles.

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Slow cookers are a busy person’s best friend. Pop some ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning with just a few minutes of prep and the result is something that tastes like you’ve been slaving over the stove for hours. This Chicken and Fresh Fennel Cassoulet recipe from The American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook is sure to warm you and your family up on a cold night.

Lean chicken breast is cooked on top of fennel, garlic, onion and sun-dried tomatoes, and topped off with white beans and parsley. We drizzled some garlic olive oil and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on the dish at the end, and that gave it an incredible burst of flavor!

Chicken and Fresh Fennel Cassoulet
Recipe from The American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook by The American Heart Association

Serves 4: 3 ounces chicken and 1 cup vegetables per serving
Slow cooker size/shape: 3-to 4 ½-quart round or oval
Slow cooking time: 4 to 5 hours on low plus 30 minutes to 1 hour on low (preferred), or 2 ½ to 3 hours on high plus 15 to 30 minutes on high

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced, and quartered
1 medium Vidalia, Maui, Oso Sweet, or other sweet onion, thinly sliced and quartered
¼ cup matchstick-size dry-packed sun- dried tomatoes
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each), all visible fat discarded
½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
¼ teaspoon pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
½ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1. In the slow cooker, make one layer each of the fennel, onion, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the garlic. Place the chicken on top. Sprinkle the mixture with the oregano, pepper, and salt. Pour the broth over all. Don’t stir. Cook, covered, on low for 4 to 5 hours or on high for 2. to 3 hours.

2. Pour the beans over the chicken. Sprinkle with the parsley. Don’t stir. Cook, covered, on low for 30 minutes to 1 hour or on high for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Cook’s tip on fennel: Although most recipes calling for fennel use only the bulb, there are uses for all parts of the plant. First, cut the fernlike fronds, or leaves, from the stems and the stems from the bulb. After discarding the tips of any fronds that seem coarse, use the fronds as a garnish or snip them to use as a seasoning (add just before serving the dish). The stems can be thinly sliced to use in salads, but many people find them too tough and use them primarily to season broths.

To prepare the bulb, which is used as a vegetable, trim the bottom, halve and core the bulb, then thinly slice it. Use sliced fennel raw in a tossed salad or slaw or with fruits, such as oranges and apples. Fennel also is tasty when you simmer or braise it, such as in soups, stews, pot roasts, or vegetable dishes. The aniselike, but milder and sweeter, flavor of fennel becomes more delicate with cooking.

Per serving:
Calories 268
Total Fat 4.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 73 mg
Sodium 283 mg
Carbohydrates 27 g
Fiber 10 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 30 g
Dietary Exchanges:
1 starch, 2 vegetable, 3 very lean meat

Chicken Cassoulet, Ready to Eat