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Apple Braised Fennel

Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. I like it roasted, stir fried or even in fennel slaw. One of my favorite ways to make it is this braised version that I often serve as a side dish with almost any meal. It goes well with many chicken and pork dishes and I love it on grilled steak as shown.

1 large fennel head
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup apple juice
1 tsp fennel seed

Begin by cutting the fennel in wedges leaving the root end intact without trimming. This will help the wedges stay together while cooking.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown the fennel pieces all over. Season with salt and pepper. In the last minute or two of browning the fennel pieces, throw in the fennel seed and garlic. When brown remove the fennel pieces to a small baking dish. Add the apple juice and chicken stock to the pan that the fennel was browned in to deglaze the pan. Pour over the fennel and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Roast at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the fennel pieces are fork tender. You can make a sauce for the fennel by reducing any leftover braising liquid and add in a couple of tablespoons of butter to finish the sauce.

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