Fenneled Rice Pilaf
Place rice in a bowl and rinse under cold, running water until water runs clear. Drain and reserve. Remove wispy fennel leaves. Chop and reserve for garnish. Cut bulbs in half and slice thinly across width. Finely dice, discarding hard cores.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add chopped fennel bulbs and stalks, salt, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until soft. Add Pernod, turn heat to high, and light alcohol with a match. Continue to cook over high heat until liquid is reduced by half. Add reserved rice and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, with cover on, for 5 minutes.
Stir in reserved fennel leaves, and serve warm.
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