Sweet & Sour Braised Fennel


2 medium bulbs fennel, washed and trimmed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices on the diagonal
1 large red onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup water; more as needed
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Cut the fennel bulbs in half through their cores and cut each half into four or five wedges. In a large, heavy-based pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel (in batches, if necessary) and brown it well on one side, about 5 min. Turn the wedges with tongs and brown the other side. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic; cook over medium heat, stirring, until soft, about 8 min. Stir in the lemon juice, water, sugar, salt, and pepper, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is soft and the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 25 min. Check about halfway through cooking; if there’s still a lot of liquid, remove the cover and continue to cook. If the liquid evaporates before the fennel is cooked through, add a little water, cover, and continue to cook. Serve warm or at room temperature.