Citrus Braised Fennel


  • 3 medium fennel bulbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 125ml apple cider
  • 1 orange juiced and finely grated zest
  • 1 lemon juiced and finely grated zest
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fennel fronds  

By Sabine Spindler
The pairing of fennel and citrus is amazing - and happily, both are around in in winter. It's a great way to use up that extra citrus. It's delicious served atop some grains sprinkled with fetta cheese or as a side to roast chicken or pork.


Wash the fennel bulbs and trim the green fronds, reserving for later. Cut the bulbs lengthways into slices about 1cm thick, leaving in at the core, so the slices don't fall apart - the fennel will become amazingly soft and delicious after the braising. 

Choose a wide, lidded saucepan that will hold all the fennel in a single layer. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place over a medium-high heat. Add the fennel slices, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. 

Add the cider, lemon juice and orange juice and reduce until almost al the liquid has evaporated. Add the citrus zests, thyme, bay leaf and garlic, then pour in enough water to just cover the fennel. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a slow simmer and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with a circle of baking paper, pressing it directly onto the fennel, then put the lid on the saucepan and braise for 20-25 minutes or until the fennel is soft. By the time the fennel is ready, the liquid should have reduced to a sauce. 

Serve the fennel on a plater or large plate, drizzled with the sauce and scattered with the chopped parsley and fennel fronds.