Fennel Braised with Artichokes
Elegance is not usually a key attribute of vegetables. We speak of them as healthy, colorful, and flavorful, but their ability to transport a plate toward unabashed sophistication is rare. (I know there are truffles, but who in his right mind is going to slow-cook a truffle?) This dish has that power, thanks to its seductive marriage of two Mediterranean vegetables. The preparation is no more complicated than an average sauté, but the flavors and textures may cause swooning; consider yourself warned.
Precook: 15 minutes
Slow Cook: 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low, in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Recipe Courseside dish
Dietary Considerationside dish
Type of Dishvegetable
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 fennel bulbs, stems and leaves trimmed and bulbs cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices
- 1 medium onion, halved and cut into slices
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can (about 15 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Heat half the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the fennel slices in the oil on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, and transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour until the onions are coated. Add the wine and heat to boiling. Add the broth and tomatoes and stir until boiling.
Coat a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with the remaining oil. Layer half the fennel slices in the cooker, cover with half the artichoke quarters, and then half the sauce. Repeat the layers. Cover the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low, until everything is tender. Scatter parsley over the top and serve.
2008 Andrew Schloss