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Braised fennel

  • 900 g (2 lb) fennel
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves, optional
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • To garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Discard the tough outer layer of the fennel, then cut it lengthways into 1cm (½ in) thick slices. Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a deep heavy-based frying pan over a medium-low heat and fry the fennel, in batches if necessary, for 3 minutes on each side, or until it is golden, adding a little butter with each batch.
  • Return all the fennel to the pan, add the wine and boil for 5 minutes, or until only a small amount of the liquid remains.
  • Add the bay leaves, if using, garlic, thyme and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the fennel is tender.
  • Season to taste, scatter with the chopped dill and thyme and serve.