Pastis Braised Fennel Tuscan
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Braised Fennel

This gorgeous vegetarian dish tastes far more luxurious and complicated than it actually is. Great served alongside roasted meats or by itself, this is a dish that I often make as part of a Sunday roast.

This is very much a classic dish of Tuscan origins – Tuscans might be more inclined to add a grating of parmesan at the end (which is delicious and I encourage!) and probably less inclined to use French Pastis.

Pastis has a wonderful anise flavour that matches fennel perfectly, but you could use any anise-flavoured liquor such as Ouzo, Raki or Arak. The alcohol also helps to deglaze the pan after braising the fennel so you don’t lose any of the delicious caramelisation. If you don’t drink alcohol however you can skip this ingredient entirely and it won’t affect the final taste too much.

Braised Fennel

Braised Fennel

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Course: Sides, Lunch, DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes

Great served alongside roasted meats or by itself, this is a dish that I often make as part of a Sunday roast.

Ingredients

  • 2 large fennel bulbs

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 2 tbsp Pastis or other anise-flavoured liqueur (optional)

  • 200 ml vegetable stock

  • 1 medium orange, cut into wedges

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Cut the fronds from the top of the fennel bulbs and set aside. Slice the bulls into quarters, leaving the core attached.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan and place the sliced fennel into the hot butter, seasoning generously. Carefully turn each piece of fennel, browning all all sides and being gentle so as to keep the slices intact.
  • Once lightly browned, remove the fennel slices for the pan and transfer to a baking dish. Very carefully add the Pastis to pan, being wary that it is likely to ignite immediately so use a long handled pan and hold away from any cupboards ahead as the flames die down. Using the base of a wooden or rubber tool, scrape the base of the ban till the bits at the bottom dissolve. Pour this mixture (bits and all) into the vegetable stock.
  • Pour the vegetable stock into the baking dish, on top of the fennel, add the orange wedges and bay leaves. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Serve by placing the braised fennel on a serving plate and garnishing with the green fennel fronds and a light seasoning.
  • 
if you wanted to create a glaze, you could reduce the liquid from the baking dish over a medium flame until thickened in consistency. Drizzle this glaze over the braised fennel or use as a sauce for accompanying meat such as roast chicken or pork.

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