I am a sucker for the reduced table. I guess the recession has instilled in me the drive to make the most of what I have, and often I get the most bang for the buck at the reduced vegetable table. I find things that may no longer be beautiful, but are awfully flavorful.
At any rate, I was really cold and 9 p.m. when I was walking into my house when I started on this recipe. It includes all of the flavors I love, has the comfort of cheese and can fill out a plain piece of meat, or salad or just be eaten alone. It reheats easily and tastes better the next day.
8 as side, 6 for main course
fennel, trimmed with fronts resered and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
leeks, bottom parts, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
blond sultanas(or any non-sweetened dried friut)
chopped nutmeats, ( I use pecans, but has also used walnuts or almonds)
2. Fill 2 quart pan with water, salt and bring to a boil
3. Soak raisins in white wine for 20 minutes, drain and reserve wine
4. Drop sliced fennel in salted water, bring back to a boil and cook for 6 minutes or until fennel is al dente. Drain well and set aside in a bowl
5. Put 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the sliced leeks until translucent. 5-8 min
6. Pour reserved wine from raisins into leek mixture. Cook and reduce until dry. Add leek mixture to fennel and mix with parsley and nuts. Correct salt and pepper
7. Put 2 tbs. butter into a tall sauce pan. Bring to foam and add 2 tbsp. flour. Add salt and pepper. Let this mixture cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Reduce heat
8. Add 2 cups of milk to pan and stir until contents are thoroughly mixed. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce lightly coats the back of a spoon. Take sauce off heat and add crumbled cheese. Stir until mixed and set aside for 10 minutes.
9. Put 1 tbsp. of olive oil into the bottom of a 12x12 casserole.
10. Pour the sauce over the fennel/leek mixture and mix until all slices are lightly coated.
11. Break Kaiser Roll into smaller pieces and pulverize in a food processor.
12. Transfer mixture to casserole, smooth top. Sprinkle break crumbs evenly over top of mixture. Press lightly. Drizzle with olive oil and put in oven for 30 minutes or until top is golden.