pork fennel ragoutThis was a really weird one.

I made this for dinner on Sunday night, after my book club gathering. It was weird because it was completely delicious and still a total disaster to make. Because the recipe doesn’t call for adding liquid to deglaze the pan until far into the recipe, I ended up with a completely burned/charred pan bottom and no browned bits for the sauce. I was able to save the fennel/shallot mixture by throwing it into another saucepan, but I thought I’d ruined dinner once the original dish burned. Turns out, I didn’t.

This was also weird because you can use red OR white wine, and I used the leftover red wine from book club. But it made my dish look completely different from the one on Food Network, so they must have used white.

Needless to say, after all this I was skeptical about actually eating this, and despite everything it was delicious. I made some fettuccine and just tossed it with butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and some of the leftover parsley. Went perfectly with the pork.

Pork and Fennel Ragout (from Food Network)

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 1-inch-thick boneless pork loin chops (1 pound total, trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch-wide strips) **I used pork cutlets because that’s what I had on hand
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced shallots
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (I left these out, we are anti-mushroom in the Reeve household)
1 1/2 cups red or white wine

Grind the fennel seeds with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a spice grinder or chop with a knife. Transfer to a medium bowl; mix with the lemon juice and pork. Add the flour and toss to coat. In another bowl, mix the lemon zest with 2 tablespoons parsley. **I didn’t read this last step, and I put the lemon zest in with this mixture. It was fine.

seasoning for pork fennel ragout

Heat a deep skillet or pot over high heat and add the olive oil. Brown the pork in batches, 1 minute per side; transfer to a plate.

cooking pork

Add the shallots, fennel bulb, the remaining 3 tablespoons parsley, and salt to taste to the skillet. Reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are wilted, 2 minutes.

fennel mixture

**This is where my dinner went off the rails. You can see the bottom of the pan already burning, and it turned totally black. But the shallots and fennel were on a bed of charred stuff, so I was able to transfer them unscathed to another pan.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.

new pan for fennel

Add the mushrooms, wine and 1/2 cup water; scrape up any browned bits. Cover and simmer over low heat until the fennel is tender, 12 minutes.

add wine to fennel

Add the pork and heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and top with the lemon zest-parsley mixture.

As per Food Network: Per serving: Calories 435; Fat 18 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 62 mg;

Sodium 882 mg; Carbohydrate 24 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 30 g