Braised Fennel with Olives and Soft Polenta

Photo: JFrink

Adapted from (who adapted it from Sean Moran's "Let it Simmer"). The braising mellows the anise characteristic of fennel. Hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian entree, but also goes very nicely with a lemon-garlic marinaded grilled chicken breast.

Yield: 4 servings
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  • 2 bulb(s) fennel
  • 1/2 cup(s) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup(s) white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
  • 2 clove(s) garlic chopped
  • 1 dash(es) red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprig(s) thyme
  • 1 cup(s) kalamata olives chopped
  • For the polenta
  • 2/3 cup(s) instant polenta
  • 2 cup(s) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cup(s) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 1 ear(s) fresh corn kernels (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Trim and discard the stalks and fronds from the fennel if present. Slice the bulbs lengthwise into 1cm slices. In an ovenproof dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown each side of the fennel slices in the oil, in batches if necessary. In a bowl mix stock, garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, and lemon juice. Add this mixture, the bay leaves, and thyme to the dutch over. Cover and bake for 30 mins or until fennel is cooked through.

  3. Meanwhile bring the stock and milk just to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the polenta and whisk vigorously. Stir in the fresh corn kernels. Simmer over low heat stirring constantly until thickened 5-10 minutes. Season and stir in butter.

  4. Plate the polenta topped with the fennel slices. Drizzle with cooking juices and top with olives. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds if desired.
July 2012

This recipe is a personal recipe added by JFrink and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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