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Braised Fennel with Lemon

Braised Fennel with Lemon


  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 fresh fennel bulbs, each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over high heat. Add half of fennel; sauté until deep golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Repeat with 2 more tablespoons oil and remaining fennel.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix shallots and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk in 3 tablespoons oil; drizzle mixture over fennel. Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until fennel is tender and shallots begin to brown, about 20 minutes longer.

Reviews Section

Braised Fennel

To prepare the fennel – slice off its root (crossways, if that makes sense) – and then slice with the grain of the bulb to achieve wedges of a cm or two in width. Wash all the sliced wedges carefully as these bulbs are a bit like leeks and can harbour grit and dirt in between their layers…

[The Fennel in the photo was very baby fennel and thus the bulbs were narrower]

Heat a pan with a little Olive Oil and when nice and hot, add the washed Fennel with a pinch of Salt

Fry over a reasonable heat for a few minutes, letting the Fennel catch a little bit of colour

After 4 or 5 minutes or so, you can add a big splosh of White Wine and a couple of spoonfuls of Chicken Stock (or Water and a squeeze of Lemon). Let the Fennel cook gently for another 5 or 10 minutes, over a heat that’s high enough to reduce the liquid down fairly quickly…

When there is very little liquid left in the pan, and the Fennel is softer (but with a little bite left still), it’s done! Add a crunch of Black Pepper and squeeze lots of Lemon over it, and serve whenever you’re ready to eat… this Fennel is side dish is good hot, warm or cold

Is very delicious served with a salmon steak, or some smoked mackerel maybe?!


Trim the fennel and roughly chop 1 tablespoon of the fronds. Halve each bulb through the core, then cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to coat the pan. When hot, cook the fennel, without moving, until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute more. Add salt.

Add the broth, lemon rind, and juice and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer fennel to a bowl.

Raise the heat to high and reduce the sauce until syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Fold the sauce and reserved fronds into the fennel and top.

Serve over rice and enjoy!


Could you add a description of how this meal helps the body?

Hi Paula,
Fennel is warming which is the goal of this program right now, to warm up the body. The lemon is sour so it supports the Liver.

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Braised Lemon Fennel Chicken Thighs

Braised Lemon Fennel Chicken Thighs combines sweet fennel and garlic with fresh lemon to create a wonderfully complex sauce that is perfect with this easy to prepare dish. .

Braised Lemon Fennel Chicken Thighs

The story behind Braised Lemon Fennel Chicken Thighs

A printable recipe card can be found at the bottom of this post

It starts with a lemon tree.

Well, it actually starts starts with last year being a very busy year for BB and me in our “life of change” and ending up with us being in Napa and renting a house with a beautiful lemon tree.

2018 was a year of changes. Big changes. We sold our home in Sonoma County, totally downsized, moved into a tiny apartment, BB changed jobs which necessitated us moving closer to his new workplace, which was the town of Napa and so that is what we did.

With all the downsizing, moving, changing, etc, etc. I didn’t get a lot of work done on my cooking. And inventing new recipes. But now I have a new kitchen, a new garden, and a new lemon tree. So it’s back to work!

I love lemons. I love fennel. I love garlic. So why not put them together in a tasty simple broth? Why not indeed.

The Chicken

I use chicken thighs for this recipe.

Could you use chicken breasts? I suppose you could, and if you choose to I would recommend you slice them in half laterally to make them thinner, and cook them for half the time indicated in my recipe so they turn out tender, not dry.

If you use breast, I would also cook the fennel, lemon, garlic, wine/chicken stock for about 10 minutes before you re-add the browned breast.

Chicken thighs hold up to the longer cooking time.

I always laugh a bit when I read a recipe that tells you to use “well-seasoned flour” or to “season the flour well” with salt and pepper. How much salt and pepper do you actually need to add to the flour to flavor the flour? I’m going to say a “whole lot more” than if you do it my way.

When you season the meat, you know exactly how much seasoning the meat got. If you season the flour, well, your guess is as good as mine. And plus plus, you use a lot less salt and pepper, or whatever seasoning you are using. I use the same principle with my Simply the Best Fried Chicken recipe. SEASON the meat.

Lemons Lemons Lemons

Did you know that there are more than 25 different varieties of lemons? The most common are Avalon, Eureka, and Lisbon. I think I have a Eureka, being both in California, plus the fact my tree gives me lemons year round. Lisbon lemons are very similar, but only produce twice a year and Avalon thrive in Florida. So EURKEA it is.

Of course, there are also Myer lemons, which impart a more orange flavor, and Budda hand lemons, which don’t look like lemons at all. For this dish, choose one of the lemony lemons that look like a lemon.

Now I also know that lemons can cost a pretty good chunk of change in many parts of this country, but this recipe only uses one lemon, and it uses all that lemon, except for the seeds, so it’s a good use of lemon. No waste.

To effectively use the whole lemon, zest it first, then cut off the remaining white pith. The pith is rather bitter and best not used. You can zest lemons using a Microplane zester or use a sharp knife to remove the zest (and the zest only, again, leave that white pith behind) and then finely chop it.

Once you have zested, slice the lemon into about 1/4 inch slices and remove any seeds, the seeds are not only bitter but not pleasant to chew on.

I chose to brown my lemon slices after I had browned my chicken to give them a deeper, smoother flavor. While not completely necessary, since they are just going to “melt” into the sauce, I find the taste to mellow out. If you choose not to brown your lemons, you may need to add a pinch of sugar after the dish is completed to adjust for tartness.


Personally, I love fennel. Raw it has a slight licorice flavor, cooked it is very mild and sweet. First grown in the USA by Thomas Jefferson, who loved to bring in not only vegetables but wine vines from all over Europe, it looks similar to celery when sliced, but the flavor is very different. Here is an article I wrote all about the history, how to buy, how to prepare fennel, but the condensed version is, buy fennel that has a white ball with no bruises or cuts, with bright green tops that are not wilted. It is said that round bottoms mean the bulb is female thinner flatter bulbs indicate male, and while there is no hard fast evidence this is true, I do find the rounder bottoms to be more tender. So when I choose, I choose round bottoms.

After your lemon slices have been browned, add the fennel and garlic and cook until just starting to brown around the edges and are crisp-tender.

And to the finish line

So your chicken has been seasoned and browned. The lemons have a nice color to them. Fennel and garlic, sauteed. Add the wine or vermouth (I like to use vermouth as the flavor is very consistent and the $ is pretty low). Reduce whichever you choose by half, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, then return the lemon and chicken to the skillet, add some chicken stock, cover and cook for about 30 minutes. The lemon slices will melt into the sauce, the fennel and garlic mellow together, and the chicken is now nice and tender.

Plate onto nice warm plates and top with that fresh garnish of lemon zest and fresh fennel fronds that have been minced together.

This dish is PERFECT with a California Sauvignon Blanc or an Italian Pinot Grigio.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

With a large knife, cut each fennel bulb lengthwise into four slices. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter and oil until sizzling. Lay fennel slices in skillet cook, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Pour orange juice over fennel season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. Add wine, and continue cooking until fennel is very tender and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve warm.


Lotsa Pasta
by Michele Anna Jordan
Raw fennel is refreshing and crunchy, with a slight taste of licorice. When braised it becomes rich and almost sweet, and is best accented with a little lemon.
Yield: 4 servings.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Ready to serve: 35 minutes.

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-wide wedges
• 1 tablespoon kosher (coarse) salt plus more to taste
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 lb. rigatoni (tube-shaped pasta)
• 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (4 oz.)
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
• 8 basil leaves, cut into thin crosswise strips

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot add fennel and saute, turning frequently, until cut edges begin to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add wine and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Reduce heat to low cover and cook about 20 minutes or until fennel is very tender when pierced with fork. Remove saucepan from heat.

2. Fill large pot two-thirds full of water add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook rigatoni according to package directions drain. Do not rinse. Transfer cooked pasta to shallow bowl.

3. Add ricotta, braised fennel (with cooking juices), remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and lemon peel toss gently until cheese is melted. Add basil leaves season with salt and pepper. Toss again.

Per serving: 690 calories, 21 g total fat (5 g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 875 mg sodium, 7 g fiber.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb&mdashcored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • One 1-pound head of escarole, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sliced fennel and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the escarole and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, dill and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the fennel fronds and serve.

- Jessica Jones -

Giant Jones Brewing Company is an independent, women-owned, certified organic craft brewery in Madison, Wisconsin. Co-owners Erika & Jessica Jones launched Giant Jones in 2018, focusing on high alcohol, classic beer styles. Brewer Jessica Jones completed a brewing apprenticeship with Faction Brewing Co. in Alameda, CA in summer 2014. She is a Grand Master Beer Judge through the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), an Advanced Cicerone®, and an award-winning homebrewer. Jessica has worked in the beer industry and served as Brewers Association (BA) competition staff for the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and World Beer Cup (WBC) from 2008-2016.

Braised Fennel with Apples

Fennel and I had a complicated relationship for a long time&hellip There are only a few things I don&rsquot like when it comes to food and especially to vegetables, fennel was one of them.

I am not a fan of anything licorice and the anise taste of fennel was not something I particularly enjoyed. But I am persistent (when it comes to food) and I kept trying. I was never convinced until very recently.

We were invited to a wedding and one of the vegetable side dishes served there was braised fennel. And I like it so much, I had to make it myself as soon as possible. And the best thing about it is that the braised fennel I made at home was even better than the one served in the restaurant.

So good, that I just had to cook it repeatedly over the past few weeks and I didn&rsquot stop to just braised fennel. I&rsquove made salads with fennel, roasted fennel and I have even tried a soup&hellip which I didn&rsquot like much, so I have to work some more on finding a really good soup recipe.

I bought more fennel during this time than during the last 5 years or so, I would say&hellip I love fennel now!


Fennel is a plant belonging to the carrot family. I never would have guess it, but then again, pumpkin is a berry and peanuts are legumes.

It originates in the Mediterranean area, but nowadays it is grown in many parts of the world.

Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with a long top that has fronds looking very much like dill. Actually, during our recent holiday in Croatia, I sent my husband shopping and asked him to bring some fresh dill. He brought fennel fronds, a whole bunch of it. I put it in every salad we ate during the holiday&hellip

The fennel bulb has that distinctive anise taste, it is firm, fresh and very crunchy. It can be eaten raw in salads, it can be grilled, roasted or braised.

The fennel seeds are just amazing, I loved them long before I started to like the fennel bulb. They can be used for teas and for spicing up many dishes. I adore this fennel flavored zucchini soup or this albondigas in tomato sauce with fennel seeds.

Fennel is not one of the world&rsquos most popular vegetables, due to that particular anise/licorice taste that one has to learn to appreciate, I suppose. But once you&rsquore there, you will just love fennel. It is fresh and aromatic and it stands out in any dish.


How to cut a fennel bulb?

  • Cut the long stalk and the fronds using a chef&rsquos knife. Keep some of the fennel fronds for sprinkling over the finished dish. You can discard the stalks, I tried cooking them a few times, but they always remain though. If your fennel bulb has lots of fronds, you can use them for salads, for instance, they add a wonderful slight licorice flavor.
  • Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise.
  • Remove the tougher bottom of the fennel and part of the core. Usually, when slicing the fennel for a salad, I remove the core completely. When preparing the fennel for this braised fennel dish, I leave part of the core where it is. This helps the fennel wedges hold together (more or less) during cooking.
  • Place the bulb, cut side down, on the working surface. Cut the halves into wedges/thick slices. I was able to cut about 5 thick slices from each fennel half, my fennel was of medium size and the slices about finger-thick. If your fennel is larger, cut more slices.


  • Use a crisp, slightly sour sort of apple, which will not become mushy during cooking.
  • Halve, core and slice the apple as well. The slices will be thinner than the fennel slices, about 5-6 slices from each apple half.

Braising fennel:

  • Heat the butter and the oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan.
  • Add the fennel slices and cook for about 4 minutes until the fennel is golden. Stir a few times in between to make sure that the fennel cooks on all sides.
  • Add the apple slices and cook for 3 more minutes, turning the fennel and the apple slices on all sides as well. The apple should also become golden.
  • Sprinkle the sugar and some sea salt on top and, stirring gently, let the sugar caramelize slightly, about 1 minute.
  • Add the vegetable broth, cover the pan and braise the fennel and the apples for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the lemon juice, stir gently and let the liquid reduce to a glaze. It will take about 1 minute.
  • Adjust the taste with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Braised fennel makes a beautiful, very aromatic and flavorful side dish for roasted chicken or fish.

This particular braised fennel recipe can also be enjoyed as it is, as a light vegetarian meal with some crusty bread on the side. Or why not try it over soft polenta? It is delicious!