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Orange & Pastis Braised Baby Fennel

Orange & Pastis Braised Baby Fennel

Instead of worrying if I’d have time or where I’d find time to come update with posts and recipe, I thought I’d start a mini series of posts instead. Shorter posts with recipes geared toward the upcoming holidays or inspired by the plethora of produce and items I find every weekend at the farmers market.

Depending on the time and subject at hand, some post might be shorter than others but this blog is a place of stress relief and comfort first and foremost. For you and for me. For my mom too so that she can see I don’t "forget to eat". Seriously. Forgetting to eat? She had to be thinking about someone else.

Mise En Place

In the spirit of making it count and making something good, I want to share a side dish we have been eating twice already this week: Orange & Pastis Braised Baby Fennel. Sweet, a little tart and full of the wonderful aroma of anise and citrus. B. said it was like eating candied vegetables and I am so glad I put 2 bunches of baby fennel in my basket at the farmers marker last weekend. He frowned. Now he’s rubbing his belly in approval. Ahah!

I am keeping this as my secret weapon depending on our final menu for Thanksgiving. I must confess that I *can’t* wait for Thanksgiving this year as Tami from Running With Tweezers, her boyfriend Mike, Broderick from Savory Exposure and Chris from Mele Cotte are making the drive from Atlanta to Charleston to spend a few days and celebrate Thanksgiving at our house. Food! Slumber Party! Happy Hour! Farmers Market! Walks!

Baby Fennel

We have been talking about the food for a few weeks now and there are some wonderful dishes in the works! Be prepared for some sneak peeks and posts about our dinners. That’s what you get when bloggers, bakers, food stylists, food photographers, food enthusiasts gather together around the table!

I am thankful for their gift of friendship and love to us. These folks are like my second family and I am a lucky to have these few days with them in our gorgeous city.

** You still have until Sunday to enter the giveaway for Gluten Free Girl and The Chef Cookbook! Just head over there and put your name in the virtual hat! **

Orange and Pastis Braised Baby Fennel

Notes: It’s one of those dishes that require little in the form of active hands on preparation and that cooks on its own while you can tend to more pressing issues. You can definitely use regular sized fennel for this recipe and do without the pastis by using a couple of anise seeds and broth or water instead. The anise should be subtle enough to play up the natural aroma of the fennel while the orange gives it a nice floral and sweet note.

Serves 4

2 bunches baby fennel or 2 medium bulbs fennel (fronds discarded – keep them for salads!)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (clementines right now are perfect for this in the South East)
zest of one orange
1/4 to 1/3 cup Pastis (or equivalent in water + 2 star anise)
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the baby fennels in half lengthwise. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan (I like to use cast iron as much as possible) set over medium high heat and sautee the baby fennels until they start to get golden. Add the orange juice, orange zest, Pastis and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the baby fennel is fork tender, 40 minutes to an hour. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the liquids reduce to a syrup and coat the fennel completely. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve hot.

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Nina Timm November 18, 2010 um 6:47 am

Brilliant. I like these short and sweet recipes!!!

julia November 18, 2010 um 9:42 am

toujours de très belles recettes avec de très belles photos! c'est un plaisir de venir ici

Jessica @ How Sweet November 18, 2010 um 11:38 am

This fennel sounds like a fabulous side dish!

SMITH BITES November 18, 2010 um 1:47 pm

Food like this is my favorite – no heavy sauces or cream, simply the veg that's been bumped up a bit with caramelization and a few spices – perfect!

Amanda Hawkins November 18, 2010 um 2:08 pm

Ah, thanks, I have been wanting to explore cooked fennel, but I never know what to do with it.

Angharad November 18, 2010 um 5:11 pm

The second photo in this post is just beyond gorgeous!

Diane Shaskin November 18, 2010 um 5:20 pm

Wow, very creative and beautiful. I'll try this one out for sure.

Erica Lea {Cooking for Seven} November 18, 2010 um 10:00 pm

Your photos are so beautifully and gently composed. And such a lovely recipe!

Aldy November 19, 2010 um 1:47 am

Hi Helene,
It's a pleasure to comment on your Beautiful blog! I Love your fennel recipe. What a great combination of flavors!

Cheers! Aldy 🙂

elpi November 19, 2010 um 1:57 am

Irresistibly good recipe!

Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams November 19, 2010 um 2:30 am

Helene, I love the double anise flavored from the pastis and fennel. The orange is a surprising flavor here that I'm sure tastes wonderful!

Heidi – Apples Under My Bed November 19, 2010 um 3:29 am

Beautiful! Your Thanksgiving sounds divine. I will look forward to the coming posts!
Heidi xo

matt November 19, 2010 um 5:24 am

stunning! I love both fennel and pastis (never drink that enough) – what a fantastic idea of combining the two!

LOVELY photo as usual!

The InTolerant Chef ™ November 19, 2010 um 6:29 am

Lovely sounding and looking recipe. I hope you have a great weekend.

Fragolina November 19, 2010 um 10:21 am

Beautiful beautiful photos!!! I love food gatherings, on special occasions and with special friends..

Unknown November 19, 2010 um 11:55 am

Bonjour !
Je viens de parcourir votre blog en entier et ça m'a donné un terrible envie de cuisiner! Apres mes examens, je m'y mets !
Bonne continuation !

Gabriela, clavo y canela November 19, 2010 um 3:44 pm

Acabo de llegar a tu blog, me parece fantástico, ya lo coloco en mis favoritos.

Scarletta November 19, 2010 um 4:38 pm

I am experimenting more and more with fennel so this recipe is absolutely fortuitous. And thanks, as always, for the gorgeous photos – beautiful!!

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures November 19, 2010 um 6:05 pm

Yuuum, I LOVE fennel!

Daile Wilson November 19, 2010 um 8:40 pm

This looks so good! I love your blog!! I post your blog as my top 5 best food blog today!! 🙂

Lynn in Tucson November 20, 2010 um 2:31 am

Oh, yum! I have fennel coming up in the garden as we speak! I think I'm the only one in my house who will like this, but that's just more for me!

Amanda November 20, 2010 um 5:14 am

Sounds delicious! And so easy too! I love the pictures!

shaz November 20, 2010 um 11:33 am

Sounds wonderful, I often wonder what to do with fennel. Love the idea of the short posts too, we get to see more of your beautiful work more often, yay! Have a great weekend.

Gen November 20, 2010 um 8:10 pm

C'est une belle recette. Même les petits posts sont supers, et je dirais qu'il sont encore plus proche du quotidien.

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen November 21, 2010 um 7:29 am

One of the best ways to eat fennel. Just simple and true flavors! I can probably live some days by just staring at your pictures. Truly beautiful!

Miriam Leigh November 23, 2010 um 7:33 pm

I've been using fennel in a scalloped potato dish – layering the fennel withe potatoes and then drenching with a cream-sour cream mixture. But your recipe seems to let the fennel shine in their own right. Def gonna try it!

Myriam @ Detours November 24, 2010 um 11:21 am

How gorgeous are these pics?! And I really like the sound of this flavour combination, pastis fennel and orange. I wonder if you could use it in other recipes too, such as in a savoury cake or even in a macaron perhaps?

The Teacher Cooks November 29, 2010 um 2:46 pm

Simple and beautiful!

steph- whisk/spoon July 12, 2011 um 8:40 pm

i made this with the baby fennel from my CSA share last week. it was sensational!!

appliancesboard January 8, 2016 um 1:46 pm

Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. You shouldn't feel as though you have to suffer through bland meals just to remain in good health, because you don't! At least not with the recipes found in this article.

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