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If you’re looking for a new veggie to throw on the grill, try out these slow-roasted fennel bulbs.  The sweet and spicy filling will be a nice complement to your traditional grill fare.  And, since the fennel will roast for an hour, you will be free to mingle with your guests.

Makes: 2 60-watt bulbs
Total kitchen time: 1 1/2 hours

Shopping List:

  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 Oz. pancetta, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and spices.  Cook until onions are soft and begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the pancetta to the skillet and stir to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the skillet.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so.  Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the tops off of the fennel bulbs and carefully scrape out the inside.  Be careful not to to scoop out too much, as the fennel sides are somewhat fragile.
  4. Divide the onion and pancetta stuffing between the two fennel bulbs.  Lightly brush the fennel with the remaining olive oil and grill over indirect medium heat for about an hour.  Or, bake uncovered at 300°F for an hour, or until the fennel is slightly tender.

The fennel bulbs will fall apart as you slice through them, so encourage your guests to use their fingers.

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