Braised Fennel, Carrots & Pearl Onions

September/October 1994

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Earthy fennel and sweet carrots are the perfect combination in this stew. Fresh pearl onions are great, but to save on time you can substitute frozen pearl onions. If you serve it as a side dish with roast chicken or lamb, stir in a few spoonfuls of pan juices just before serving to further enhance the flavor.

Braised Fennel, Carrots & Pearl Onions

Makes: 8 servings, about 1 cup each

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  • 4 fennel bulbs, stalks removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups fresh pearl onions, peeled (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 large carrots, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 1-1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds, or fresh parsley


  1. Cut each fennel bulb into 8 wedges, but do not remove the core. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the fennel wedges and cook for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and blot with paper towels.
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add half the fennel and cook, stirring, until nicely browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a dish. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and fennel; transfer to the dish. Add onions to the pan, sprinkle with sugar and cook, shaking the pan back and forth, until nicely browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Return the fennel to the pan along with carrots and 1 cup broth. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, adding more broth as needed to keep the stew moist, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with fennel fronds (or parsley).

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: To peel pearl onions, cook in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain. Peel when cool enough to handle.


Per serving: 90 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 5 g fiber; 323 mg sodium; 662 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (130% daily value), Vitamin C (35% dv), Potassium (19% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1/2 fat

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