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braising European, Italian
Braised Fennel with Orange Recipe-168

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This dish has been part of my repertoire for years—I introduced it at Trio, where I was the chef in the early 1990s. When I was growing up, we usually ate fennel shaved thin and served with lemon and pepper. Now I like it braised, too, and find that raw or cooked, with its mild licorice flavor, fennel has a natural affinity lor oranges. For this little plate, I pair it with plenty of orange juice and finish the dish with grated orange zest. I always use a microplane grater to remove the zest from citrus fruit and highly recommend you invest in one of these marvelous kitchen tools.

Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 fennel bulbs, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped fronds
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters. Remove and discard the root ends.

3. In an ovenproof braising pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onion is softened.

4. Grate the zest from 1 orange and reserve. Cut all 3 of the oranges in half and squeeze the juice into the pan. Add the Pernod, ignite it to burn off the alcohol, then bring the liquid to a brisk simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Simmer until the liquid reduces by half, then add the chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When incorporated, cover the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.

6. Transfer to a serving bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the reserved orange zest and fennel fronds and serve.


About the wine

Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Tuscany is a mouthful to say, and it can also be a mouth-filling white wine. Often blended with Chardonnay and/or Vermentino (like the famous “Terre di Tufi”), those wines made from the Vernaccia grape on its own offer lifting acidity, floral bouquet, and a nice foil for the licorice-y fennel and Pernod.

© 2007 Rick Tramonto

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving

372kcal (19%)
172mg (17%)
91mg (152%)
224mcg RAE (7%)
64mg (21%)
546mg (23%)
15g (74%)
25g (38%)
2mg (11%)

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