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Braised Fennel with Leeks and Bacon

Braised Fennel with Leeks and Bacon


My friend Donna -- a tremendously inspiring cook who has had a great influence on me -- taught me to braise leeks probably ten years ago and it's become a routine part of my schtick. I've varied the recipe this way and that over the years but this version is the winner so far and therefore deserves to be covered in a standalone post.

Of course, I've been braising fennel for a while too (see Seared Pork Medallions with Braised Fennel for example) but for some reason I'd never thought to do them together, or to add bacon to either, though now that I've done it I can't for the life of me figure out why it too so long to get this idea.

In any case, this is an easy side that goes especially well with roast or grilled meats. Leftovers of the preparation are also especially welcome in the refrigerator too, as a little knot of this stuff (warmed for a few seconds in the microwave) on top of a bowl of rice makes a quick and satisfying lunch. It also makes a nice addition to salads or hearty soups.

I served it the other night as an accompaniment to Fusion Flank Steak with Japanese rice and it was a pretty perfect pairing in my book.

Braised Fennel with Leeks and Bacon

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
5" piece of leek (white part) cut in spaghetti threads
2 T butter
4 slices bacon
1 bullion cube
1 C white wine
2 T cilantro or parsley, minced
fish sauce to taste
hot sauce to taste

Place the fennel, leek, butter, bullion cube and wine in a saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer, cover tightly and cook 20 - 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Meanwhile sauté the bacon until just crisp. Drain on paper towels and cut in 1/2" pieces.

When the vegetables are done, stir in the bacon and the minced herbs. Correct seasoning with fish sauce and hot sauce to taste.


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this is definetly my style... i will have to make this one day... and you are right it can go with anything... i love fresh grilled corn, and for some reason i can see myself adding that to it...

That picture looks lovely. I am curious about using fish sauce rather than salt to season. I get that fennel and fish go together but have never seen fish sauce as the only piscine component in a dish (outside of ground pork/chicken served with lettuce leaves). Thanks for the heads up!

This looks absolutely fantastic. In fact, now I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

The Pear bread pudding with Maine blueberry sauce was a HUGE success at our Grange supper this past Saturday. Although a little boozey for some of the elder folks, the rest lapped it right up. We have been having great success with your recipes and appreciate the use of our local ingredients.

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