Freaky about fennel

Do you ever have one of those “Aha!” moments when it comes to herbs and spices? A few years ago, it was Chinese Five Spice. I was flabbergasted that I had never discovered this amazing combination of star anise, cloves, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon and, fennel seeds. And that segways nicely into this blog about fennel seed. I became familiar with this spice when a co-worker suggested I add it to my potato salad or coleslaw recipe.

On a recent Sunday, I discovered a new use for fennel seed….this delicious Italian-style Slow-Roasted Pork Roast. I got this recipe out of the Wegman’s Menu magazine. This is not a weeknight kind of a meal as it takes eight to ten hours to roast. With fall right around the corner, I recommend you prep this roast the night before, let it sit in the fridge and soak up some of the flavors overnight and pop it in the over in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday when you plan to be around the house for a while.

You’ll need:

3 small onions, peeled, halved and sliced

2 navel oranges, unpeeled, sliced (I used blood oranges

7 to 10 pound pork shoulder

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp of fennel (I used more because I’m a freak about fennel)

Salt and pepper

The day before, combine the onions and orange slices in the roasting pan. Diaganolly score the fat-side of the pork about ¾ of an inch in a diamond pattern. Rub the garlic and fennel seeds on top of the pork and season well with salt and pepper. Place the pork on top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

On the day of the meal, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake uncovered for seven to eight hours.

Remove from the oven and place the roast on a clean platter to rest. You can use the juices to make gravy or use as au jus. It is delicious, aromatic, and actually pretty easy. It goes well with mashed potatoes.

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