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The Garden House 67, Woodchester Road Dorridge Solihull Birmingham and West Midlands B93 8EL

Braised Fennel & Orange

A classic Italian-Jewish dish that when cooked produces a sweet, salty, citrusy hit.

Eat as a main, side or starter with fresh, crusty seeded bread to mop up the juices. Lends itself to baked fish and roast chicken well. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large fennel bulbs, trimmed
  • 2 oranges
  • 170ml vegetable stock
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 220C/Gas 7/Fan 200. Trim the darker green stems of the fennel bulbs and reserve the fronds. Save the trimmings to use in a vegetable stock if desired. Slice the bulb from top to base, cutting crossways through the stems, into thick slices 1cm thick. Lay the slices in a greased baking dish and brush the remainder of the oil over the slices.
  • Zest half of 1 orange, then slice finely. Halve the other orange and squeeze the juice out. Add the orange juice to the stock, then add the honey. Place the orange slices over the fennel. Pour the stock over the fennel slices, season, and cover with tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes, checking how the fennel is softening and baste the fennel with the juices.
  • After the fennel and orange slices have softened remove the foil, sprinkle over the zest and return the dish to the oven for a further 10 minutes without the foil and to reduce the liquid, until it has nearly gone.
  • Serve garnished with any reserved fronds, chopped.

Fennel is low calorie and low GI and is a nutrient dense vegetable. Fennel is a source of vitamin C and B3, fibre, molybdenum, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, folate, iron, calcium, pantothenic acid and magnesium. These nutrients are required by the body to regulate blood pressure, maintain healthy cells and blood vessels, aid gut motility, maintain eye health and fight infection.

Fennel has its own unique combination of phytonutrients – including flavonoids rutin, quercetin, kaempferol and anethole which has been shown in studies to help prevent cancer with its anti-inflammatory properties. The vitamin C found in fennel is directly anti-microbial.