Rachel Ray’s Garlic Braised Fennel

I say YUMMO in true Rachel Ray fashion.  Fennel and parsnips are two of my favorite vegetables during the fall and winter.  This fennel recipe I gleaned from the November 2011 issue of the Rachel Ray Magazine.  A little something different for your Thanksgiving sideboard.  Bon Appetit!

Garlic Braised Fennel

Serves 8

1 large lemon

3 Bulbs fennel (about 3 lbs) stalks discarded and fronds reserved (optional)

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 can (14.5) diced tomatoes

1/2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed

Coarse salt

1.  Cut off three 1/2 by 2 inch strips of zest from the lemon.  Halve the lemon and squeeze out 1 tablespoon juice. Set aside.  Halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise.  Place each half cut side down and cut lengthwise, through the core (to hold the pieces together), into 4 wedges (for a total of 24).

2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the fennel and garlic and cook, turning the fennel as it colors, until golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

3.  Add 1/2 cup water, the tomatoes, lemon zest, fennel seeds and 1 tsp salt; bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a gentle boil, cover and cook until the fennel is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

4.  Add the lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, bring to a boil and cook until the sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Top with the fennel fronds, if using.

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