How do you make fennel for people who don’t even know they like fennel? That’s the question. Our friend Natalie has the answer, with this flavorful, hearty fennel dish that melts in your mouth. If you’ve never tried fennel – this is the time to start.
Wash five fennel bulbs, slice off the top stalks and greens, and slice the bulbs into 3/4″ batons.
In a heavy-bottomed, large dutch oven (the bigger the surface area the better), heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add the batons. Lightly sear the fennel. Then add a half cup of dry white wine. As that is absorbed and evaporates, begin adding a cup of the diluted “no-chicken” broth (Natalie uses this and it’s delicious), or a broth of your choice. Turn the heat up and bring the broth to a simmer.
Let the broth reduce a bit, and then add another cup. Continue this process, until you’ve added 2 1/2 cups of broth. You’re looking for the fennel to become almost caramelized but still a firmness to it – this takes about 25 minutes.
Add, while stirring, 1/4 cup grated gruyere, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1/4 cup bread crumbs (leftover bread from the Gruyere and Pumpkin Fondue comes in handy), some fresh chopped thyme, 2 T butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep stirring and cooking down while the cheese melts and the fennel gets softer and softer.
Sprinkle some of the chopped fennel tops in at the end for some added green color.
Make a half cup of bread crumbs (leftover bread from the Gruyere and Pumpkin Fondue comes in handy), and sprinkle on top of the fennel right as you serve it.
- 5 large fennel bulbs, cleaned and cut into 3/4″ batons (reserve and chop 2 tbs of the fennel tops)
- 2 1/2 cups of diluted “no chicken” broth (or broth of your choice) – half broth, half water
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated gruyere
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- fresh chopped thyme
- 2 T butter
- salt and pepper
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