Braised Fennel with Diced Vegetables

  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fennel greens
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ c. dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. butter

Keeping the root end of the fennel bulb intact, halve each bulb lengthwise.  Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the diced vegetables and herbs, and sauté over medium-high heat until the onion begins to color.  Move the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the fennel bulbs, cut sides down.  Spoon the vegetables over and around them, season with salt and pepper and pour in 1 cup of water.  Lower the heat to medium, cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 10-12 minutes.  Give the diced vegetables a stir and add ½ cup of water.  Cover and cook until the fennel is tender-firm when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes.  By this time it should be nicely browned on the bottom.

Remove the vegetables and the fennel to a serving dish, placing the fennel cut side up.  Return the pan to the heat, add the wine and butter, and scrape up the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.  When the wine and butter have reduced by half, add fennel greens, taste for salt, and season with pepper.  Spoon the sauce over the fennel and serve.

Serves 2 to 4.

From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.