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Double-Fennel Pork Chops

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 96

There's a reason why fennel pairs so well with everything from pork and fish to apples. It's sweet anise flavor elevates everything around it and fills the kitchen with a smell you just can't beat. In this dish, both fennel seed and sautéed fresh fennel bring big flavor to simple pork chops.

  • 2 tsp. fennel seed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 1-inch-thick center-cut bone-in pork loin chops (about 12 oz. each), trimmed
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (2 lb.), trimmed, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips, plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fronds
  • 3/4 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil

Lightly crush the fennel seed in a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a small skillet. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Season the pork chops with 3 tsp. of the spice mixture.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Stir in the fresh fennel, 1/2 cup of the broth, and the remaining spice mixture. Cover the skillet, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel begins to soften and brown, 8 to 10 minutes (reduce the heat if the fennel browns too quickly).

Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and add the remaining 1/4 cup broth and 2 Tbs. of the parsley. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits, until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining parsley and the fronds, season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a medium bowl.

Wipe out the pan, add the oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook, turning once with tongs, until well browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. (To check for doneness, make a small cut near the bone and look inside.the pork should still have a hint of pinkness.) Serve the pork chops with the fennel.

Serving Suggestions

An Arugula, Mint & Apple Salad with Walnuts & Buttermilk Dressing starts the meal off right.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 520; Fat (g): fat g 35; Fat Calories (kcal): 310; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 13; Protein (g): protein g 39; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 13; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 750; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 140; Fiber (g): fiber g 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

We make this at least once a month if not every other week. We do add garlic and wine, but the basic recipe is the same - brilliant!

I had tried bulb fennel several years ago, and didn't care for it. This recipe made me adore it! This is one of my go- to recipes now. I have also substituted chicken breasts for the pork. Last night I added a splash of chardonnay to the broth. Amazing recipe- thank you!

I made this dish pretty much as written - except no parsley & half the salt. I'll make it again. Next, I'll broil the chops while I prepare the fennel. Then, I'll try re-heating the fennel in the an with the pork chop favorings. Either way, I'll have the fennel warmer at serving time.

This is one of my favorite pork chop recipes. The fennel is wonderful--make extra!

Not bad, but can't believe nobody mentioned the excessive use of salt in this recipe. Using half the amount (at the most!) yields much better results.

The delicate, subtle flavor of the fennel made for an exotic change of pace. I used country style ribs ( I had a package in the freezer) and they were very tender and delicious. I couldn't help myself, I put a minced garlic in the skillet before adding the meat to brown. Next time I will add it to the herb rub. Why wouldn't you follow the pattern from many other FC dishes and brown the meat first and add the vegetables and broth to incorporate the flavor from the browned bits?

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!! Follow the knife technique for judging done-ness not the thermometer.

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