“One of the Finest Pork Loin Chop Recipes!”
Don’t let a dislike for black jelly beans and licorice stop you from trying a fennel recipe! Indigenous to the Mediterranean, this anise-flavored branch of the parsley family tree is on Italy's Top 10 List of favorite herbs.
Given the chance, this aromatic plant will show you just how versatile it is. Fennel lends itself surprisingly well to an array of foods such as pork, chicken, lamb and veal. Bonus: one cup of fennel provides nearly 20% of the RDV of vitamin C.
Fennel is reminiscent of its cousin, the dill weed, but in a larger version. And, like dill, fennel boasts a plethora of culinary, homeopathic and…even magical uses.
Fennel's curative repertoire includes acting as a natural antacid, minimizing cramps and bloating―and can be quite useful diet supplement for people with various stomach ailments. It is also said to be helpful in repairing liver damage caused by alcoholism.
According to folklore, hanging fennel and St. John’s Wort over your door will repel evil spirits. If you carry fennel on your person, it is said that they will instantly trust you and believe everything you say. It is also rumored to keep ticks from biting if you put some fennel in your shoes.
1 medium 12oz fennel bulb, stalks removed
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ tsp Hungarian paprika
3 bone-in pork loin chops at least 1” thick
2 TBSP olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
½ cup chicken broth
½ dry vermouth
1 tsp brown mustard
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
Cut the top and bottom of the fennel bulb and slice it halfway through to the core. Cut each half laterally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and ½ tsp of the paprika. Rinse pork chops and pat dry. Then sprinkle the pepper mixture on all sides of the pork chops. Set out-of-the-way.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until glistening. Add pork chops and sear about 3.5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Place the chops on a plate to rest. Reduce to medium heat and add fennel, onion, garlic, thyme, and the remainder of the paprika to skillet. Add salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes; until the fennel starts to brown. Add dry vermouth and broth and bring to a boil; scraping residual browned bits from the skillet’s bottom.
Return the pork chops and its juices to the skillet, situating the chops among the fennel. Cover, set heat to low, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Lay the pork chops on a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Set to medium heat and allow the sauce to simmer the uncovered for about three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, lemon zest, and juice. Serve the sauce separate from the fennel and pork chops.