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11/02/2011 05:31 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

Fennel Seeds

Gail Simmons shows you how to use foods you already have in your pantry to make easy, delicious recipes. In this episode of the Pantry Project, Gail shows viewers how many ways there are to use fennel seeds. She's created three recipes that showcase their savory anise flavor.

Fennel seeds are the seeds of the fennel plant, and they have a wonderfully intense anise (or licorice) flavor that works well in a variety of dishes. In this video Gail shows viewers three recipes she's created to highlight fennel seeds, and then demonstrates how to make her Braised Pork and Fennel Meatballs. She begins by making the meatball mixture. She places about a pound of ground pork in a bowl, then adds red chile flakes, fennel seeds and chopped garlic. She mixes everything together to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed through the meat, then forms 1-inch meatballs. When the meatballs are finished, she places them in the refrigerator to firm up while she starts the sauce.

She pours some canola oil into a Dutch oven, then adds very thinly sliced fennel bulb, sliced onions, and sliced garlic, then lets them caramelize and cook down. When they've taken on some color and softened, she adds ground fennel, then seasons the sauce with salt and pepper. She deglazes the vegetables with white wine (be sure to let it cook a bit so the alcohol can cook out), then adds crushed tomatoes and lets the mixture simmer and thicken.

Then it's time to cook the meatballs. She browns them first in a skillet with a little oil, then places them in the sauce, making sure they're covered 3/4 of the way up to ensure even cooking. Once they've cooked through, serve them in a shallow bowl with toasted bread and shaved Parmesan.

Recipes:
Caramelized Braised Fennel Bulb
Fennel Crusted Roast Chicken with Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Braised Pork and Fennel Meatballs

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