Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fun with fennel

At a family gathering this past weekend one of my nieces was telling me about her love of fennel seed. Our conversation veered into something I am completely nuts about: fennel root.

I've been playing around with ideas for a pair of Nordic cooking classes I am teaching this autumn and keep stumbling back to fennel marmalade. Fennel is a sweet little accompaniment to pork, poultry, and all things fall. This marmalade is a beautiful topping for chicken burgers, pulled pork, ribs, grilled trout, cheese plates, and cold cut sandwiches. Last night we added it to BBQ sauce for grilled chicken wings, and now my thoughts are stuck on adding Fennel Marmalade to a grilled pizza with rye-kissed crust and topped with white cheddar and bacon. 

Fennel Marmalade

1 large head fennel, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
12 ounces orange juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large orange, zested and sectioned
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon salt

In large saucepan stire together fennel, juice, vinegar, sugar, and ginger. Turn heat to medium high and bring mixture to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours or until fennel root is just starting to break up and mixture is reduced and thickened. Stir in chopped orange sections, zest, tarragon, and salt and let mixture sit covered, off heat, for about 20 minutes. Chill until ready to serve.

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