Treat yourself like company with this Mediterranean-inspired Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives recipe. In less than an hour, this one pan wonder works well for a weeknight dinner. It’s a mash-up from America’s Test Kitchen and Molly Stevens cookbooks. The revised recipe noted below serves six, but we halved it for just the two of us.
Cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through. Rather than searing the meat, it is rubbed with a spice mixture. The Mediterranean seasoning inspires the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts, and briny olives.
After softening the fennel in the microwave, toss it with the other vegetables and olive oil, and spread the mixture into the roasting pan, placing the tenderloins on top. The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork was done, so remove the meat, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and orange zest, and let the vegetables finish in the oven while the meat rests.
Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives
2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry; or 6 oz. jarred packed in brine
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450°. Pat pork dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, combine thyme, 2 teaspoons of the orange zest, cumin, pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Combine thoroughly and rub all over both tenderloins.
Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and remaining teaspoon orange zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes more.
Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices and serve with vegetables.
First order of business for this scrumptious recipe from Molly Stevens is to butterfly—aka spatchcock—the chicken (or have your butcher do it for you). A method we use often because the flattened bird cooks more evenly than a whole one, where the slower-cooking dark meat gets more heat exposure and the lighter breast meat remains protected at the center of the pan.
This recipe arrangement allows for a marvelous flavor exchange as the chicken bastes the fennel-orange-rosemary mix with savory juices, all while absorbing its sweet-citrusy-woodsy aromas. Just writing this is getting my juices flowing! And everything on just one pan, who doesn’t love that?!
If at all possible, try to get blood oranges, with their sweet, yet tart, exceedingly aromatic and juicy fruit. Along with their lovely, jewel-like red color, blood oranges tend to have a noticeable and delicious raspberry edge to their flavor.
With the potatoes around the perimeter of the baking sheet, they get the full brunt of the oven’s heat, producing brown crispy exteriors while maintaining creamy interiors. This approach to cooking a variety of elements all in one pan (with different handling) results in a complementary alliance of flavors and textures. A good bottle of wine would be the only other accompaniment needed…
Plan Ahead: For the best flavor and texture, season the chicken at least 4, and up to 24 hours in advance.
One follow up note, some of the fennel wedges were still not completely cooked through at the end. To solve this issue, first make the fennel wedges only 1/2″ thick, and then slice off some of the inner triangular core of the fennel, but leave enough to keep the wedges intact.
Butterflied Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Fennel, Rosemary and Orange
1/2 tsp. paprika, smoked (pimentón) or regular, sweet or hot
1 4-lb. chicken, butterflied and patted dry
2 large fennel bulbs (about 1 1/2 lbs. untrimmed)
1 3/4 lbs. med. red or white potatoes, scrubbed
1 small blood (or navel) orange, scrubbed
2 Tbsp. EVOO
2 3- to 4-inch fresh rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
Combine the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a mortar or spice grinder and coarsely grind. Transfer to a small cup and add the pimentón (paprika) and 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and stir to combine.
Pat the chicken dry all over and sprinkle half of this mixture on the underside of the chicken, rubbing in so the spices adhere. Flip and rub the remainder of the bird, including legs and wings, with the spices. Set the chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet or tray. Tuck the wingtips under the back of the chicken, and the thighs are not flopped outward. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 4, and up to 24 hours.
When ready to roast, heat the oven to 400° (375° convection) with a rack near the middle. Let the chicken sit at room temperature while the oven heats.
Meanwhile, cut the fennel into wedges just over 1-inch across at their widest. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch wedges.Cut the orange crosswise in half and set one half aside for juicing later. Cut the remaining half in half, and then crosswise into 1/4-inch quarter moon shapes.
Place the fennel and orange slices in the center of a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the potatoes off to one side. Drizzle the olive oil over everything and season with salt and pepper. Toss the fennel and oranges together to coat with oil and seasonings. Do the same with the potatoes but keep them separate.
Spread out the vegetables in a single layer, grouping the fennel and orange toward the center and the potatoes around the perimeter—this will allow the chicken to protect the quicker-cooking fennel and oranges from burning, and ensure crisp brown potatoes.
Place the rosemary sprigs on the fennel and squeeze the juice from the reserved orange half onto it.
Place the chicken on the vegetables, skin side up. The potatoes should be fully exposed or poking out and the fennel mostly tucked under the bird. Pour the vermouth or the wine around the potatoes, avoiding the chicken.
Roast, stirring the potatoes and rotating the pan about halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and well-browned in spots. The juices from the breast should run almost clear when you prick it with a knife. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh (without touching the bone) should register 170°, in 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove chicken to a cutting board with trough to catch the juices, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir the vegetables, combining the fennel, potatoes and oranges and coating them with the pan drippings. If the fennel and potatoes are not tender, return them to the oven to finish roasting while the chicken rests.
Halve the chicken by cutting straight down the center bone. Cut each whole leg away from each breast half and cut the legs into thighs and drumsticks. Cut each breast half crosswise in half, leaving the wing attached to the upper portion, creating 8 total pieces.
Pour any carving juices over the vegetables and serve immediately.
Fennel is a love it or hate it vegetable because of the intense anise flavors. But roasting the bulbous veggie helps mellow the licorice notes and turns its fibrous texture luxuriously creamy. For this roasted fennel, Cook’s Illustrated (CI) began by cutting the bulbs into wedges, which had two benefits: It provided good surface area for browning, and the attached core kept the pieces intact.
Covering the pieces with foil for most of the cooking time allowed them to steam and turn creamy; then remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of roasting so that they can turn golden and deliciously caramelized. Toss the wedges with salted water before covering them, which provides moisture for steaming and helps get seasoning between the layers.
Arranging the pieces on the long sides of a rimmed baking sheet ensures that all the pieces get equal exposure to the heat and browned evenly. However, the original recipe did not specify what size rimmed baking sheet and we used the smaller quarter sheet pan instead of a half sheet pan. Because of that, we think it took much longer for the liquid to evaporate, thus much longer for the fennel wedges to brown. In fact, we even put them under the broiler at the end for a minute or so.
The tart dressing made with orange juice and honey is the perfect complement to the sweet fennel. WOW, we practically swooned when eating it! And it was a great side dish to complement our Sear Roasted Salmon entrée, but I changed the number of servings from 4-6 to 3-4; we almost finished it off between the two of us.
CI Note: Look for fennel bulbs that measure 3½ to 4 inches in diameter and weigh around 1 pound with the stalks (12 to 14 ounces without); trim the bases very lightly so that the bulbs remain intact.
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed of stalks (but save some fronds for garnish), bases lightly trimmed
2 Tbsp. fronds chopped coarse, stalks discarded
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. honey
1 ½ tsp. white wine vinegar
⅛ tsp. grated orange zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
Pinch kosher salt
FOR THE FENNEL: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.
Cut each fennel bulb lengthwise through core into 8 wedges (do not remove core). Whisk water and salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved. Add fennel wedges to bowl and toss gently to coat. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper, and toss gently to coat.
Arrange fennel wedges cut side down along 2 longer sides of prepared sheet. Drizzle any water in bowl evenly over fennel wedges. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil from the sheet and continue to roast until side of fennel touching the sheet is browned, 5 to 8 minutes longer (this may take even longer than that), rotating sheet halfway through roasting.
Flip each fennel wedge to second cut side. Continue to roast until second side is browned, 3 to 5 minutes (or more) longer. Transfer to serving dish.
FOR THE DRESSING: While fennel roasts, whisk all ingredients together in small bowl.
Whisk dressing to recombine when ready to use. Drizzle dressing over fennel, sprinkle with fennel fronds, and serve.
This one-pot meal from Milk Street with classic Italian flavors couldn’t be easier. The ingredients are combined in the pot, then pressure cooked (or slow cooked) until the chicken is fork-tender. To finish the dish and create a flavorful sauce, the cooking liquid is thickened with a couple tablespoons of flour—just enough for clingability but without any heaviness. A little lemon juice adds acidity and brightness. Super Good!
It is suggested to serve over polenta or with hunks of crusty bread. Since we were doing neither, we increased the amount of baby potatoes by about 50%, to 12 ounces instead of 8 (which would be pretty paltry for four people). And with only 1.6 pounds of thighs, we were able to use our smaller 4-liter pressure cooker. Somehow we forgot to halve the potatoes, but they still came out tender and creamy.
Don’t worry that ½ cup vermouth is too little liquid. The chicken and vegetables release flavorful juices as they cook that, combined with the vermouth, form the base for the sauce.
In a 6-quart Instant Pot, stir together the vermouth, garlic, fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Add the chicken, potatoes and fennel, distributing the ingredients in an even layer.
Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 8 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally until the float valve drops. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and potatoes to a serving bowl, then tent with foil. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid until smooth, then stir into the pot. Select Normal/Medium Sauté and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until lightly thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in the arugula and lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and white pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes.
Otherwise known in English as White Beans with Sage, Garlic and Fennel. Super-fab! This one-pot vegetarian meal is so satisfying and tasty, that if you are a meat-eater—and we are—you won’t miss the meat. The simple combination of white beans, sage and garlic exemplifies the clarity of flavor the Tuscany region’s cooks can pull from just a few ingredients.
It is advised not to use cannellini beans, but rather Navy or Great Northern. We used the latter which are smaller than cannellini beans but larger than navy beans. Known for their delicate, nutty flavor, they’re usually added to casseroles and soups, such as this recipe. In summary, white beans provide a good source of protein, an excellent source of fiber, and several essential nutrients.
This recipe gave us a perfect opportunity to harvest the remainder of our fresh sage from the garden before the cold weather set in. Used in two ways—finely chopped and fried whole—this herb has a pronounced herbal flavor that is earthy, has a slightly peppery taste, and emits hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon. What’s more, sage is faintly piney, though not like juniper. It’s much softer and mixed with subtle citrus notes; perhaps a little on the bitter side, though not harshly so.
We loved it topped with an ample garnish of grated parmesan, but if omitted, it could work for the vegans in the family.
Don’t drain both cans of beans. The liquid from one of the cans creates a sauce-like consistency that keeps the beans succulent.
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage, plus 20 whole leaves
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 14½-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15½-oz. cans white beans, 1 can rinsed and drained
Shaved or grated parmesan cheese, to serve
In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, chopped sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and the beans. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer, for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the sage leaves and cook, flipping the leaves once, until the edges begin to curl, about 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared plate; reserve the oil.
Transfer the beans to a serving bowl, then drizzle with the sage oil. Coarsely crumble the sage leaves over the beans. Top with Parmesan.