Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finely, Fennel

I made something a little different for dinner last night. I have a rather good collection of cookbooks, which collect dust on the shelves. I don't usually make anything that can't be prepared in a few minutes and I don't generally work from recipes. I like to try new flavors sometimes and this was one of those times. Finely sliced fennel.

I use fennel seed in tomato based sauces, but I have never used fennel (anise) in cooking. When I was in the produce department of the grocery store the woman working there told me I should try it. So I did.

The result was this fine mess. Chicken with garlic, leek and fennel. Very quick prep time, then braised for a few hours. It was very good and if I can remember what I did, I will do it again!

Boneless chicken breast, cut into pieces
Leek, sliced
Fennel bulb, sliced
Fresh grated ginger
Several garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

Brown chicken in peanut oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a few minutes. Salt to taste. Add enough stock to almost cover. Tightly cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 3 - 4 hours.

I think I will dust off some of those cookbooks and see what I have forgotten about over the years of quick and easy. I remember some lovely food coming out of those pages. But for the everyday, busy life, this type of food is made fresh and is good to the taste. In minutes.

Bon Appetite!


  1. I think I will have to try this! My family loves the flavor of anise...Are you serving it with pasta? I usually fix potatoes with roasted chicken...Perfect cool weather fair.

  2. Looks yummy!! I throw fennel on the cookie sheet when I am roasting vegetables (bathed in good olive oil) to serve over pasta. Roasting really brings out the flavours of all the veggies.

  3. Deb, yep. Pasta, vermicelli. I would also have liked it with couscous, but I didn't have any.

    Bonnie, I am a neophyte! What I did not know, I know now. : ) And I am convinced.

  4. Finocchio! one of my favorite treats in the whole vegetable world! When I was a little girl it was traditional to serve Finocchio as a dipping agent into Bagna Cauda, specially on New Year's Eve. I would think that the Bagna càuda(Piedmontese dialect for "hot sauce") may not be but an acquired taste but it is one I acquired probably before I learned to walk. Traditionally one uses Cardi (Cardoon) but to my taste dipping Finocchio enhances the experience proportionally to the amount of anchovies and garlic in the bagna cauda because the sweetness of the Finocchio really comes through.

    Your dish look succulent and I have a couple of nice fresh leeks in the crisper so I will ask the man to go search for some Finocchio at WF. Thank you dear, nothing like giving each other inspiration. And yes, dust the cookbooks, you don't need to follow a recipe for cooking. When I used to teach I used to say that cooking is alchemy but baking is chemistry. One requires magic, the other science. Reading cookbooks continues to be a favorite way of passing the time for me. Particularly those with a little bit of history attached to them. They are like women of a certain age, what they reveal is wonderful but what they leave out to be found out is even better.

  5. Allegra, I don't think I could teach you anything where cooking is concerned! I have considered cooking an art form and baking a science, so we are on the same page. It's why I like to cook, it is hard to mess up too badly. : )

  6. I don't really like fennel but you dish looks alright. I think I'd try this.

    I need to do some more cooking. I'm addicted to Master Chef series and seeing some of the beautiful dishes they create makes me want to get into the kitchen.

    All I need like you is some more time to do so.


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