The last of the season’s fennel came out of the garden just over a week ago. Fennel has been a real surprise from the garden for us this year. I grew a few last year but I do not recall what I made with them, it was not memorable….This year’s crop came from my new vegetable garden area and I had plenty to start experimenting with in the kitchen.
The first recipe (and the one we had a few times from the harvests) was a Skillet Baked Fennel recipe, this was the other recipe, equally enjoyed. I love to serve risotto at our family table in Winter. It is comforting and warm, fabulous family friendly food.
A drizzly Winter afternoon with no dinner planned and no intention of leaving the warm house I found the ingredients for this dish in the pantry and the garden. I had my regular stash of bacon in the freezer for low cost family meals and thought it would marry beautifully with the earthy mushrooms and sweet fennel.
I will most definitely be adding Fennel to the vegetable garden again in Summer/Autumn, and more of it. The flavor is deep and sweet when it is baked. When it is baked it presents a much less imposing flavor than as a raw ingredient – which is nice in Summer with a salad or cold chicken but in the cooler months I prefer the sweeter, caramel characteristics that are evident when it is baked.
- 2 small fennel bulbs trimmed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch salt
- ¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
- ½ cup boiling water
- 3 garlic cloves - chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 red onion - chopped finely
- 100 grams short rind bacon - diced
- 1 cup arborio risotto rice
- ⅓ cup white wine (dry not sweet)
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- fresh spring onion - shredded to serve
- freshly ground black pepper to serve
- Set the oven to heat to 170 degrees
- Prepare the fennel, place in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt
- Bake for 25 minutes remove from the oven and chop into cubes
- Place the mushrooms in a dish with ½ cup of boiling water and let them sit to soften
- Add the oil to a pan and over medium high heat cook the garlic and onion
- Add the bacon and stir until it starts to cook
- Add the rice and stir to coat
- Add the wine and stir, wait until it reduces by half
- Add the porcini mushrooms and the liquid they were soaking in and reduce the heat of the pan slightly
- Once the liquid is almost all absorbed add the stock 1 cup at a time until it is absorbed, then add the next cup of stock until it is all used
- When you add the last cup of stock add the chopped baked fennel
- Serve with shredded spring onion and fresh grinds of black pepper
Do you grow fennel and have you tried it in risotto?