Thursday, April 11, 2013

Creamy Braised Fennel

Fennel bulbs are really pretty, even if the tops of them do look like someone left their crazy green wig on the ground. I am growing some in my garden right now, but they are just babies still, so I had to buy this fennel at the store. I didn't use the green tops for anything today, I just threw them in the compost.

A lot of people like fennel sliced thinly in salads, it has a nice sweet crunch, but I also like it cooked. Usually I throw fennel bulb in some kind of stew, or roast them with root vegetables, but today for lunch fennel was the star of the show.

Ugh. Did I just say, "star of the show?" Sorry, sometimes when I'm trying to be creative I sound like a cooking show cliche. I watch too much television.
Ingredients for this fragrant deliciousness (I can't stop):

One very large fennel bulb (l would say mine was at least five inches across), or get two small ones, cut in half, then sliced thinly
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thinly 
1 grated carrot
3 tablespoons butter (vegan- don't use dark olive oil, use something lighter like sunflower)
1 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 big pinch white pepper
1/2 cup tawny port (cheap stuff is fine)
1/4 cup heavy cream (vegan use coconut cream)
fresh parsley

Get out your largest frying pan and, with the heat on high, saute the fennel, onion, carrot and spices in the butter for about five minutes, stirring only occasionally. 

Stir in the 1/2 cup of port, and then turn the heat down to a brisk simmer and cover the pan. 

Cook for ten minutes, then turn off the heat, lift the lid, stir in the cream and serve with lots of fresh parsley. The parsley isn't for decoration, I promise, it just adds a bright little freshness to it.

Serve either as a side dish (for four) with some crunchy-skinned roasted chicken, or, as a main dish (for two) with a slice of toast.