Sweet Braised Fennel

Fennel often gets a bit of a bad rap as having an overpowering licorice-like flavour, or just simply as being a difficult ingredient to use in everyday cooking. I can’t get enough of it, to tell you the truth! It’s actually very versatile to use, changes flavour and texture depending on whether you eat it raw, roast it or what dish you use it in, and it also happens to be pretty inexpensive. I love it thinly sliced in salads for a little crunch (if you saw my recipe on the cover of Candian Living‘s May issue, you’ll know what I mean!) but I also love it braised.

Slowly braising the fennel transforms it into a new vegetable, bringing out its natural sweetness with only a hint of anise, making it a perfect side dish for so many mains like seared scallops, grilled chicken or roasted salmon. I hope you give it a try and report back!


Sweet Braised Fennel
Serves 2 to 4

1 fennel bulb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives

Discard fennel fronds; cut fennel in half lengthwise. Cut each half again lengthwise, cut once more, lengthwise to form eighths. In large skillet, cook half of the olive oil over medium heat; cook shallots, garlic and pinch each salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape mixture into bowl.

Heat remaining oil over medium high heat; cook fennel, in one even layer, turning once, until fennel is light golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over top; pour stock and thyme over fennel; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, stir in shallot mixture, simmer, covered, until fennel is tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with pinch each salt and pepper; remove fennel to plate; keep warm. Increase heat to medium high, thicken stock until reduced by half. Pour over fennel, discarding thyme; top with chives. Enjoy!


6 Comments on Sweet Braised Fennel

  1. Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
    April 21, 2014 at 2:56 am (4 years ago)

    I absolutely love to use fennel in my cooking, and you’re right – it changes the flavor and texture to foods depending on how you use it – which is why I love it so much! I’ve never braised it before, but I love the idea! Pinned! Have a great week!

  2. Simone
    April 21, 2014 at 2:58 am (4 years ago)

    I love fennel too. I don’t know why people don’t. Yes the flavor can be strong but like you said depending on how you prepare it varies greatly. Plus like that strong taste so for me fennel is a winner!

  3. SallyBR
    April 21, 2014 at 9:13 am (4 years ago)

    Another huge fennel fan, although I cannot stand licorice – go figure

    I have a fennel soup thickened with white beans on my files to try soon, but of course now the weather decided to get warm fast. I can never get it right 😉

  4. Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron
    April 22, 2014 at 12:21 am (4 years ago)

    I am dying to try fennel. I keep hearing so much about it. It sounds good. And I love anise so yeah, I know I’d love it. Thanks for this recipe!

  5. Cailee
    May 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh yum!! This looks great!! Fennel is so good for ya! Detoxifying and light! 🙂