Roasted Pork with Fennel Bread Pudding

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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

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3 thoughts on “Roasted Pork with Fennel Bread Pudding

  1. Recipe looks amazing. I share your love of fennel, especially with pork. And I must say you get bonus points for a great photo. Tempted to try this for a dinner party I am having this weekend.

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