Pork Sweet Potato & Fennel Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small fennel bulbs, quartered, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, for serving
crusty bread, for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork with the fennel seeds and 1¼ teaspoons each salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add the broth and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the pork can be pierced with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes and fennel bulbs. Cook, covered, until the pork is tender and the vegetables are soft, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Serve the stew sprinkled with fennel fronds and bread on the side.