Carrots and Fennel Braised with Orange Zest and Honey

March 25, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I pair my homegrown carrots with fennel for a soft contrast to their crunch, adding fennel seeds to brighten the flavors of the dish. Then I add orange zest, orange juice, and honey to accentuate the marvelous carrot-y essence. I braise the duo to gently allow the flavors to meld, then finish the dish by glazing the vegetables with the reduced pan juices and lightly pan-roasting them to caramelize the sugars. —Viviane Bauquet Farre

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a wonderful pairing of flavors: the orange blossom honey, orange zest, and orange juice made the carrots sing. The fennel seeds give not only extra fennel flavor but some texture, too. The freshness of the herbs brings everything together. Great eaten on its own or as a bright and light side for poultry or fish! —Elena-Raluca

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey (preferably orange blossom honey)
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch x 3 inch sticks
  • 1 fennel bulb, ends trimmed, bulb cut in half, each half cored and cut lengthwise in 1/8”-inch slices
  • 4 strips of orange zest,– each 1 inch x 4” inch (use vegetable peeler)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, –crushed in a mortar
  • 1/3 cup spring water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel fronds or dill
  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and honey. Stir well and add the carrots, fennel, orange zest and fennel seeds. Toss until the slices are well coated with the oil. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the fennel starts to soften. Add the water, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Toss quickly and reduce heat to between medium and medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Uncover the pan. Raise heat to high and fast-simmer until the juices have all evaporated and some of the vegetables are golden-brown, about 6 to 7 minutes, tossing only occasionally so as not to break or mush the vegetables. Remove orange zest, transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the fennel fronds, and serve immediately. Cook’s' note: The carrots and fennel can be trimmed and cut up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to use, but the dish is best made just before serving. It does not reheat well.
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  • re-arranging_jars
  • ktchnninja
  • EmHaleVT
  • Viviane Bauquet Farre
    Viviane Bauquet Farre

9 Reviews

Rachel P. July 8, 2018
Delicious! ONE pan! Thank you!
ghainskom May 1, 2016
Made this today as a side ro the cardamom butterflied chicken also feom food52 and lived it. Didn't have an orange on hand so used grapefruit peel instead. Remove the white skin from the inside, cut in tiny pieces and Added this in with the veggies. It was delicious. May or may not add honey to reliven the leftovers when reheating them for lunch tomorrow...
re-arranging_jars November 4, 2014
I have made this several times now and love it. It's really great served over the "Spice Merchant Cauliflower Couscous" recipe, also on Food52. This combination makes a great cold lunch the next day as well.
Viviane B. November 4, 2014
I'm delighted to hear this - thank you so much for your note!
ktchnninja December 15, 2013
made this at thanksgiving, and it was a perfect side dish of veggies to go with the bird! perfect hint of sweetness (I do not love super sweet but did not feel like 1 tbsp was too much honey) and a great departure from all the creamy/scalloped/cheesy dishes!
Viviane B. December 15, 2013
ktchninja, Thank you so much for your note! I'm absolutely thrilled you enjoyed this recipe... I'm not much of a sweet tooth myself, and added just enough honey to bring out the natural sweetness of the carrots. It's all about balance... Wishing you and yours a most delicious holiday season!
kgindermaur July 7, 2013
The orange-fennel combination is so yummy! The fennel fronds added right before serving are just beautiful too. :)
EmHaleVT April 10, 2013
This was very good. We paired it with sauteed tofu which was a nice contrast to the sweetness of this dish. It also looked beautiful cooking in a cast iron pan. I will make it again but will either decrease or eliminate the honey to reduce sweetness.
Viviane B. April 12, 2013
Marcy, I'm thrilled you enjoyed the recipe... Thank you for your comment!