Makes 8 to 10 servings

Notes: At the market, have the backbone (chine) of roast left on but have it cut through to the ribs to make carving easy.

How to Make It

Step 1

Rinse and drain fennel. Trim tops, discard tough stalks, and save feathery greens. Coarsely chop enough greens to make 1/2 cup; save extras for garnish. Trim and discard root ends and bruised areas from fennel heads. Using a slicer, cut fennel into 1/16-inch-thick pieces.

Step 2

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, mix fennel, garlic, oil, and 1/4 cup water. Stir often until liquid evaporates and fennel is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup fennel greens and chilies. Remove from heat.

Step 3

Wipe roast with a damp towel. With a paring knife, make a cut the length of the roast and parallel to the backbone to create a pocket that is about 3 inches deep. Spoon fennel mixture evenly into the pocket, packing it in to use all.

Step 4

With cotton string, tie roast crosswise at every rib to hold fennel stuffing in place. Set meat, rib side down, on a rack in an 11- by 17-inch pan.

Step 5

Bake at 375° until a thermometer inserted in the center of the thickest part registers 150° to 155°, about 2 1/4 hours.

Step 6

Transfer roast to a platter; snip string and remove. Skim and discard fat from roast drippings. Scrape drippings free with 2 to 3 tablespoons water, and pour over meat. Garnish roast with reserved fennel greens. Slice between ribs to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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