It has been a while since I wrote about my fennel fetish as I like to call it. Mostly because fennel is something I tend to make in the fall/winter months. I am glad it is finally time to start making fennel again…
Bread pudding is something I have really started to enjoy in the last few years – but mostly for dessert. Savory bread pudding is a whole different animal in my opinion – it is almost like a stuffing – but a creamy stuffing, that is extremely moist. My goal is always to get the top crispy, which the inside stays rich and creamy. For me, that is the secret to a good savory bread pudding.
This is one of my favorite recipes from Cooking Light. Every time I make it, I am not disappointed. I actually used this recipe for the pork, and then made the bread pudding to go with it. What a wonderful combination – the ground fennel seeds on the pork were just perfect combination with the fennel bread pudding. It is a wonderful cozy meal for a cool fall day.
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 (2-pound) pork loin
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cups thinly sliced fennel (about 1 large bulb)
- 2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 8 ounces French bread or other firm white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded fontina cheese
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
Combine sugar, water, and salt in a large bowl, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve. Add pork; cover and brine 2 hours to overnight in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced fennel, onion, and 2 garlic cloves; cook until golden brown (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup broth; cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining broth; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
Combine bread and fennel mixture. Stir in cheese. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown.
While bread pudding bakes, rinse pork and pat dry. Combine fennel seeds, 2 garlic cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; rub evenly over pork.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Place skillet in oven; bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140° (slightly pink). Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve bread pudding with pork.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Roasted Pork with Fennel Bread Pudding