Pork with creamy fennel sauce is good enough to serve as a dinner party dish yet is so easy and quick to make you might not want to keep it only for special occasions. Pork is an economical meat so it will also make a great everyday family dinner.
Pork is perfect for everyday meals
I have said it before but I really do feel that pork is a much underrated meat. It's lean and relatively cheap and yet full of flavour especially if you opt for pork from outdoor reared pigs.
Because most cuts of pork are very lean, it can have a tendency to be a little dry if not cooked carefully and it really benefits from a sauce to accompany it.
This dish is perfect, combining an easy way to cook the pork and a delicious sauce.
An easy way to cook pork
I have found that if you brown the meat quickly in a frying pan and then finish it off in the oven it is a great way to cook pork chops.
It is very easy to overcook the pork on the outside before the centre is cooked when cooking in a pan or under the grill.
You can skip the browning if you wish and add an extra few minutes in the oven but I think a little colour on the chops makes them look more appetising.
While the pork is cooking in the oven you can forget about it and get on with making the sauce to go with it. By the time the pork is cooked the sauce is ready and you can have the dish on the table in around half an hour.
Fennel has an aniseed flavour which can be quite strong when eaten raw and can be a bit of a love hate flavour. But when cooked the flavour is sweeter and softened. It combines well with rich creamy sauces and even though the flavour is quite distinct it rarely overwhelms the other flavours.
Fresh fennel is in season in the the UK and therefore at it best from June to October although it is available all year round.
The stalks form a tight bulb which is crunchy and the leaves are feathery and delicate. Usually most of these are trimmed away from the bulb before they reach market but If you are lucky enough to get a bulb of fennel that has some leaves save these for a garnish to sprinkle over the dish.
Look for the smaller, young bulbs, which tend to be more tender. Pick bulbs that feel heavy for their size and do not have any blemishes. The feathery green tops if present should look fresh with no wilting or yellowing.
How to prepare fennel
Wash the fennel and trim away the green feathery tops if it has them. Remember to save for the garnish.
Slice off the root then peel away the tougher outer layer if it has one Younger bulbs do not.
How to Cook Fennel
Cook whole, sliced or cut into quarters.
For larger bulbs it is best to discard the tough inner core from the bottom, (but not too much, if serving in quarters as it will fall apart). For whole bulbs cut out a cone-shaped cavity from the base with a small knife or tip of a peeler.
Fennel can be sautéed, boiled, steamed or roasted as well as eaten raw.
How to store fennel
Freshly cut fennel should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper and stored in the fridge. It will last for 2-3 days. Fennel discolours as soon as it’s cut, so dress raw fennel for salads straight away, or toss in a little lemon juice to prevent it browning.
The sauce works well with chicken too, simply replace the pork chops with skinned and boned chicken breasts.
While you may not actually taste the wine in the sauce per se, I love the little complexities of flavour that the wine adds to the sauce. But if you prefer to cook without any alcohol (remember the alcohol itself is driven off during cooking), you can omit the wine and use extra stock instead.
Can I make this dish ahead?
You could but as it is really so quick to cook I would argue it best made just before serving as the flavour will be better that way and there is not much to gain from making ahead.
What shall I serve with this dish?
I love to serve this dish with new potatoes and a fresh green vegetable to add some colour to the dish. Sugar snap peas or beans would work really well
More fennel recipes
- Lemon and fennel pasta - Veggielicious
- Fennel pasta with orange and pecan nuts - Krumpli
- Fennel and Compté tart - End of the Fork
More pork recipes made easy
- Pork with golden apple rings
- Perfect pulled pork
- Oven baked pork schnitzel
- Crispy crumbed pork steaks
- Roast pork with crispy crackling
- Pork and apple burgers
Step by step
Pork with Creamy Fennel Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 pork chops trimmed of excess fat
- 25 g butter
- 175 g fennel sliced
- 125 g onions sliced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 100 ml dry white wine or extra stock
- 200 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 100 ml double cream
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6. Heat 2tbsp oil in a frying pan, add 4 pork chops and cook for 1-2 minutes each side to brown. Transfer to a baking tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, add 25g (1oz) butter to the frying pan and add 175g (6oz) sliced fennel and 125g (4oz) sliced onions and saute for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Stir in 2 crushed garlic cloves and cook for another minutes, then stir in 100ml (3½ floz) wine and 200ml (7floz) stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in 100ml (3½ floz) double cream and return to the boil. Remove from the heat stir in 1 tbsp chopped dill, taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pork chops to a warm serving plate and stir any juices into the creamy fennel sauce before spooning the fennel and sauce over the chops.
- Serve with vegetables of your choice.