Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Braised Fennel

I am of the opinion that vegetables exist to be served with tasty sauces, and this recipe for braised fennel certainly lives up to that.

Maybe it’s the stick of butter. But I think the lemon juice helps it too. And then fennel smells and tastes like licorice, so how can that go wrong? Then there is the slow simmer while I finish the rest of dinner. In the end, I think it is just super easy to make and incredibly delicious. My toddler son wouldn’t eat it, though. Maybe in a few more years?

Because I only sautéed three rather small bulbs, rather than the 4 1/2 pounds the recipe calls for, I ended up with a lot extra butter sauce at the end. I poured that over my egg noodles. I also left it under the broiler a minute too long, so some of the cheese was burned. Easily avoided next time; the broiler time is not even necessary if you don’t want to do so.

I thought it was delicious, with its licorice flavor. My husband even asked me if I’d added flavoring. No, honey: this is just a naturally good vegetable.

Braised Fennel

Yield: 10 servings (easily adapted to fewer servings if less fennel is prepared)

Ingredients:

4 1/2 lb fennel
8-10 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 fl oz lemon juice (about the juice of one lemon)
salt
pepper
parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cut the fennel from stem to root end to make halves or quarters, depending upon the size of the bulb.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the fennel, and boil until partially cooked, about 6 minutes. Drain the fennel and reserve.

Heat half of the butter in a large sautee pan. Add the fennel and turn to coat evenly with the butter. Add the stock and season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Bring the stock to simmer, cover the pan, and braise the fennel until the fennel is very tender, but still holds its shape, about 45 minutes. You can also put the fennel in an oven-safe dish in a 325 degree oven and simmer it that way for 45 minutes.The liquid should be nearly cooked away; if necessary, simmer over medium heat until it has reduced. (Or reserve the liquid for another dish.)

Remove the cover from the pan and scatter the Parmesan in an even layer over the fennel.

Place the uncovered fennel under a broiler until the cheese forms a golden crust.

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