Italian Braised Fennel and Leeks

By inpatskitchen
September 27, 2011
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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 I have three wonderful plays on this!

Food52 Review: 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

Makes: about 4 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 10 min

  • 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
  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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