Monday, October 19, 2009

Braised Fennel with Orange and Pernod

[ Photo's will follow ]

Saute fennel wedges in unsalted butter, so that they get brown all over, and slightly caramelised.

Braise the fennel in: a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper, a splash of fresh orange juice, a small dash (?) of Pernod, some meat stock, and a dash (?) of balsamic vinegar.

Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce should be reduced.

Quantities:

Attempt 1: 1 fennel bulb, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon Pernod, 1 tablespoon vinegar, just enough stock (Maggi cube) to cover the fennel. I didn't have an orange, so I skipped the orange juice. [Too sour, skip the vinegar, use chicken stock, not Maggi. FAIL]

Variations: add onion.

Attempt 2: Saute fennel and onion in butter. 1 fennel bulb, 1 shallot, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon Pernod, no stock, juice of one orange, one tablespoon butter. Simmer for 15 minutes. Reserve some orange zest to garnish. [ I taste a little too much orange, try juice of half an orange. Not perfect ]

Attempt 3: Saute fennel and onion in butter. 1 fennel bulb, 1 shallot, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon Pernod, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 4 tablespoons chicken stock (stock cube), one tablespoon butter. Simmer for 15 minutes. Reserve some orange zest to garnish. [ almost okay, need to saute & simmer the fennel a bit longer, next time use home made chicken stock. Some balsamic vinegar from the original recipe, but not more than 1 teaspoon. ]

Another take on this recipe:

In an ovenproof braising pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the fennel (one for each tablespoon of butter) and onion and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onion is softened.

Grate the zest from 1 orange and reserve. Cut all oranges in half (1 for each fennel bulb) and squeeze the juice into the pan. Add 1 tablespoon Pernod, ignite it to burn off the alcohol, then bring the liquid to a brisk simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Simmer until the liquid reduces by half, then add 1,5 cups of chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When incorporated, cover the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the reserved orange zest and fennel fronds and serve.
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