Fennel Ketchup or It Might Be A Sauce

Every now and then I find that I'm tempted to use certain flavours more and more often until they become a bit of an obsession. Fennel has been a bit like that for me in recent times. This ketchup definitely satisfies the fennel craving with a serious hit of flavour.

I'm not sure that this is truly a ketchup and I've probably used it more often as a sauce for chicken, pork or seafood combined with pasta or rice. It's made using the same technique as a ketchup but with less vinegar and sugar than you might expect. As a result, it won't keep as long as a typical ketchup, so store it in the fridge if you're using it in the next few days, or freeze it if you need to keep it longer.
Fennel Ketchup
This makes around 350 ml of ketchup or 3 to 4 portions if used as a sauce.

1 onion (I like to use red onions in pickles and ketchups but it’s not really critical)
1 bulb of fennel
2 cloves of garlic (3 if they’re small)
¼ - ½ chilli (depending on how hot the chilli turns out to be)
1 tsp fennel seeds
A few turns of black pepper
¼ tsp salt
75 ml cider vinegar
1 tin of tomatoes (400 g)
15 - 30 g granulated sugar

Peel and chop the onion into small chunks. Cut out and discard any damaged or woody parts of the fennel and chop the remainder into small chunks or slices. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the chilli.

Put all the ingredients except the sugar into a non-reactive pan (one with a lid), place on the heat and bring to simmering point. Cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for about 40 minutes until the fennel and onion are tender. Allow the mixture to cool a little then liquidise it. Pass the contents of the liquidiser through a fine sieve. 

Pour the liquid back into the cleaned pan and add a tablespoon of the sugar. Place the pan on the heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if you think it needs it. Once the balance of sweet and sour is the way you like it, simmer the ketchup gently until it's as thick as you want it to be. I prefer to keep the ketchup on the thin side because I think it's more adaptable that way but if you want it to top burgers or something of that nature, then it's better to thicken it a little more. Whatever you do, though, make sure that you stir frequently at this stage because the mixture is quite keen on sticking to the bottom of the pan if you don't.

Place in suitable containers and either store in the fridge or freeze. Try it simply with whatever pasta you fancy, some cooked chicken or prawns and a sprinkling of parmesan.
Pasta With Chicken and Fennel Ketchup


  1. It's always good to have a new recipe for a sauce, so this is one to try. Sounds good as a ketchup too.

  2. Making a sauce used to seem too much like a faff when you could buy something off the shelf but these days, with more time to do such things, sauces are a wondrous thing to make.
    Thanks for the recipe, it sounds delish.


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