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This is one of my favorite recipes when I have a bit of money for good pork chops and the fennel bulbs look healthy and delicious. Fennel is an excellent vegetable that doesn't get enough publicity. While in raw state it has a pungent anise flavor, sauteed or grilled that anise flavor mellows into a complimenting flavor great with fish, chicken or pork. Mixing it with a bit of orange is like putting parts of a symphony together -- it just sounds perfect! Try this dish when you can get the proper sized pork chops and you'll fall in love!

  • 4 pork chops, 1” thickness
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Orange juice
  • Rum (optional)

Zest both oranges in a small mixing bowl with pepper, a pinch or two of salt, and about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Juice your oranges and use enough orange juice to give you about ⅓ cup orange juice all together.  Add to the juice about 3 tbs. of rum if you are using it. Place a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet into the oven at 400°F.

Rub the pork chops with the orange zest seasoning over all the surface and set to the side for a good 10 to 15 minutes to allow them to come to room temperature. Slice the fennel bulbs in half and thinly slice the bulb, not the stems. Halve your onion and thinly slice against the grain. Set aside. Heat up your stove to medium, medium-high heat.

Remove your hot skillet and place the pork chops on it, making sure not to crowd the meat. If you have to, make the pork chops in batches. Lay them into the pan and wait for 4 to 5 minutes and then flip, and immediately place back into the oven for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chops to a plate and wrap with some foil to keep warm.

Place your skillet back on the medium to medium-high heat of the stove until you see bubbles in the slight sauce. Toss your fennel and onion into the pan and stir gently, scraping up the fond from the bottom of the pan. Do this for about 2 minutes before slowly adding your orange juice to the pan. Keep it uncovered and stirring occasionally. Don’t let the pan go dry, just slowly drizzle enough of the orange juice into the pan to keep it wet.

After you finished pouring in the juice, make sure the liquid comes to an almost sauce consistency and taste. The fennel should feel al dente and there shouldn’t be a huge flavor of anise left.  Mince the little fronds from the fennel stems and sprinkle over the top, and then correct your seasonings. Serve on top or under your pork chops with some nice crusty bread.



onion, jalapeno, pepper, bell
The Culinary Cobbler

Month of Meals

August 2012