For Thanksgiving, Day 2 (aka family Thanksgiving).
2 large fennel bulbs
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Preparing the fennel. Cut the stalks from the fennel bulb and discard them. Chop some of the fennel fronds fine and set aside about 2 teaspoons of it. (Discard the rest or save it for a later salad.) Cut the remaining root from the bottom of the fennel. Quarter the bulbs.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Pull out a 9 x 12 baking dish.
Browning the fennel. Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Put half the fennel bulb quarters into the hot oil. Brown the bottom of the fennel, about 2 to 3 minutes. Brown all sides of the fennel the same way. Put the browned fennel into the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the fennel.
Preparing to braise. Season the browned fennel with salt and pepper. How much is up to you and your taste, but we use a healthy pinch of each here. Pour the stock into the baking dish. You will not have enough stock to cover the fennel bulbs. It will come only partway up the bulbs. Sprinkle the thyme and fennel seeds over the top of the fennel.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Slide the dish into the oven and cook the fennel until it has a bit of bite remaining but a knife goes easily through it, about 30 minutes.
Plate up the braised fennel and sprinkle it with the chopped fennel fronds.
Cost: Our fennel was $7, which in and of itself is slightly pricey, but it came from Whole Foods, so it’s bound to be, and again, hey, it’s Thanksgiving (day 2). For everything, about $8, or $2 per person.