My favorite part about this recipe (other than it’s crispy-creaminess, of course!) is that the stovetop portion can be done ahead of time, saving the final broiling for right before you eat. It’s a perfect compliment to holiday main courses such as roasted turkey or chicken. Also, save that delicious cream that’s left over and drizzle it over roasted potatoes or freshly cooked greens or to fold into mashed potatoes. Creamy Braised Potatoes and Fennel By Holly Rodricks (Inspired by Food52.) Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 3 Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5-2″ chunks 2 Fennel Bulbs, with tough/bruised outer layers removed, trimmed and cut lengthwise into wedges about 1.5” wide, leaving core intact to hold wedges together 2 cups Cream 1 cup Chicken Stock 1 Bay Leaf 4 large sprigs fresh Thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried Thyme) 1/2 tsp. dried Orange Zest (or fresh zest of 1 Orange, if available) 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese, finely grated 3 tbsp. Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to taste Instructions: In a medium bowl, combine Cream and Chicken Stock and set aside. In a 4 quart pan, combine Potatoes, Fennel wedges, and Bay Leaf. Season generously with Salt and Pepper. Pour Cream mixture over vegetables until just covered and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until Potatoes and Fennel are tender and cooked through. While vegetables are cooking, toss Thyme, Orange Zest, and Cheese together in small bowl until evenly mixed, and set aside. A few minutes before Potatoes and Fennel are cooked, preheat oven broiler to medium high and generously coat the bottom of a casserole or gratin dish with olive oil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked vegetables to prepared dish. Some Cream mixture will carry over, which is a good thing! Add more Salt and Pepper to taste, as necessary. Then drizzle Potatoes and Fennel with a little more Olive Oil and add Cheese mixture. Toss all ingredients together until evenly coated. Spread out in a single layer in dish and place under broiler, approximately 6 inches away. Brown for 3-5 minutes, until potatoes and fennel are crispy around the edges, or longer as suits your preference. Serve hot! *Image courtesy of: https://food52.com/recipes/14606-crispy-cream-braised-potatoes-and-fennel.
By this point in the CSA season, if the Fennel Bulb hasn’t already crossed your path, it’s about to, and there are a few things you should know as you delve into this delicious new territory: Fennel bulbs have a pronounced anise flavor, which is more potent when eaten raw and more mellow when cooked. To prepare a Fennel Bulb, remove the remaining parts of any stalks (which can be reserved for soups or vegetable stocks), quarter, and peel off any wilted outer layers. Cut the hard core out of the very bottom center, and you’re ready to go! To consume Fennel Bulbs raw, slice very thinly and serve mixed in with salad greens. (A mandoline is helpful here.) To consume cooked Fennel Bulbs, boil or steam a head for up to 20 minutes, or roast in wedges for 40-50 minutes.
Another delicious selection from Sara Forte’s Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl & Spoon, that beautifully melds some of our favorite fall produce into one colorful and flavorful dish! Roasted Vegetable + Quinoa Bowl Adapted from a recipe by Sara Forte Makes 6 servings. Ingredients: 1 medium Fennel Bulb, halved and sliced into wedges 1 small Onion, sliced into thin wedges 4 Carrots, sliced 1″ thick on a diagonal 2 small Delicata Squash (or other Squash of choice), seeded and sliced into thick half moons 1/2 lb. Brussels Sprouts, halved 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used a chile infused one for a bit of spice.) 3/4 tsp. Sea Salt fresh ground Pepper 2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend pinch of Cayenne 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained 1 3/4 cup Vegetable Broth few big handfuls of Kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 1/3 cup toasted Pine Nuts (Optional) 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, to taste (For vegan version, skip this ingredient.) Microgreens, for garnish Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400º. Prepare all vegetables and collect them on large baking sheet. Drizzle the Olive Oil, Salt, a few pinches of Pepper, Italian Seasoning, and Cayenne. Toss to coat well and spread in a single layer on baking sheet, dividing into two sheets if over-crowded. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the heat up to 425º and cook another 20 minutes or until edges of vegetables are browned and crisp. While vegetables roast, cook the Quinoa. Put Quinoa and broth in pot. Bring to gentle boil, then down to simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork, add Kale, and cover with lid to allow Kale to wilt a little. Once Quinoa has cooled, drizzle in Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, and hearty pinch of Salt and Pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with the roasted vegetables, Pine Nuts, Feta Cheese, and Microgreens. Serve warm or at room temperature. *Image courtesy of: http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2014/10/22/roasted-vegetable-quinoa-bowl.html?rq=delicata%20squ.