One more Fine Cooking favorite for the day - this one is adapted from the October 2008 issue. Author writes, "There's a reason why fennel pairs so well with everything from pork and fish to apples. It's sweet anise flavor elevates everything around it and fills the kitchen with a smell you just can't beat. In this dish, both fennel seed and sautéed fresh fennel bring big flavor to simple pork chops." Enjoy!
Double-Fennel Pork Chops
1 teaspoon fennel seed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1-inch-thick center-cut bone-in pork loin chops, trimmed
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips
⅜ cup chicken broth
1½ tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Lightly crush the fennel seed in a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a small skillet. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in salt and pepper. Season the pork chops with the spice mixture.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Stir in the fresh fennel, two thirds of the broth, and the remaining spice mixture. Cover the skillet, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel begins to soften and brown, 8 to 10 minutes (reduce the heat if the fennel browns too quickly).
3. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and add the remaining broth and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits, until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a medium bowl.
4. Wipe out the pan, add the oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook, turning once with tongs, until well browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. (To check for doneness, make a small cut near the bone and look inside.the pork should still have a hint of pinkness.) Serve the pork chops with the fennel.