Fennel Braised with Tomatoes

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Here’s a perfectly luscious side dish that makes a great companion for grilled or roasted fish and meats or a splendid topping for hot whole grains such as wheat berries, barley or brown rice. The gratin variation, which adds a fancy finish and nice texture, is particularly attractive on a buffet table.

 

Fennel Braised with Tomatoes
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. Medium (approx. 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker
  2. Parchment paper
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil 25 mL
  4. 1 onion, thinly sliced on the vertical
  5. 3 bulbs fennel, cored and thinly sliced on the vertical
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1⁄2 tsp salt 2 mL
  8. 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
  9. 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes with juice
  10. Fennel fronds, optional
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and cook, tossing, until fennel begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.
  2. 2. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Place a large piece of parchment over the mixture, pressing it down to brush the food and extending up the sides of the stoneware so it overlaps the rim.
  3. 3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until fennel is tender. Lift out parchment and discard, being careful not to spill the accumulated liquid into the sauce. Garnish with fennel fronds, if using.
  4. Variation
  5. Fennel and Tomato Gratin: After the fennel has finished cooking, preheat broiler. Scoop out about 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) of the cooking liquid and set aside. In a bowl, combine 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) each dry bread crumbs and finely grated Parmesan and 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) finely grated lemon zest. Sprinkle evenly over fennel and drizzle with reserved cooking liquid. Place under broiler until cheese melts and top is browned. Garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.
Notes
  1. Tips
  2. If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approx. 11⁄2 to 2 quart) slow cooker.
  3. If the outer sections of your fennel bulb seem old and dry, peel them with a vegetable peeler before using.
  4. To prepare fennel: Chop off the top shoots (which resemble celery) and discard. If desired, save the feathery green fronds to use as a garnish.
  5. I like to use parchment when cooking this dish because it doesn't contain much liquid. Creating a tight seal ensures that none evaporates and that the vegetables are well basted in their own juices.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/

 

Posted in Gluten-Free, Recipes, Sides, Vegetarian & Vegan.

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