Italian Braised Fennel and Leeks

September 27, 2011
1 Rating
Author Notes

About a week and a half ago fisheri posted a recipe which he called "A Great Pasta, Waiting for a Recipe"
where he describes a pasta recipe mentioned in David Tanis' Heart of the Artichoke listing ingredients but no amounts. I was intrigued, played around with the ingredients and made a bowl which as fisheri described was "subtle and sublime". A couple of days later I added diced fresh fennel, leeks, tomato and chicken broth and made another pasta. I was hooked on the flavors and so today put everything together for braised fennel and leeks. I'm a very happy camper! Thanks fisheri.....now I have three wonderful plays on this! —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish packs a flavorful punch. Fennel and leeks are simmered in the oven until they are soft and sweet, making a great canvas for the punchy, anchovy-spiked sauce. Fresh oregano adds an herbal note and red pepper flakes add heat. This recipe takes some time to come together, but the hour-long braise gives you time to make a main dish (or enjoy a glass of wine, like we did!). Each bite is a combination of sweet, savory, and salty--but it's the anchovies that leave a lasting impression on the palate. They really make this dish shine. —duclosbe1

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes about 4 servings
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 anchovy filets, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 nice size leeks, white and pale green only, halved lengthwise (about 6 to 8 inches long)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh fennel bulb, cut into pieces about 3 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide
  • 2 tablespoons panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
In This Recipe
  1. In a large saute pan heat the oil and add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes and add the ground fennel seed.
  2. Add the tomato, oregano and anchovies and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and continue to simmer for 3 or 4 more minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper if desired.
  4. Line the leeks in a 9 x 11 inch shallow baking dish. Spread the fennel slices over and then pour the sauce over all.
  5. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
  6. Raise the oven temp to 400F and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. Combine the panko and cheese, sprinkle over the casserole and bake (at 400F) another 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!