Braised Fennel with a saffron rice timbale

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by: Breadman






A saffron rice timbale surrounded with this braised fennel makes a handsome centerpiece for a meal. The timbales are easily formed. Just pack the hot rice into a ramekin, then turn it onto the plate—a simple gesture that provides focus for a main dish. With a substitute for the butter, this dish is vegan. In summer, start this supper with an appetizer of roasted peppers and tomatoes baked with herbs and capers and finish with a salad of soft, delicate butterhead lettuces dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. For wine, consider an unoaked Calera Viognier or a Domaine Tempier Bandol rose.




ingredients

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serves: 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 carrot, finely diced

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 celery rib, finely diced

sprigs thyme (several, or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

1 leaf bay

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry white wine

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Saffron Rice

3 large fennel bulbs (quartered but attached at the core, plus 3 tablespoons greens, chopped)

4 leaves basil

1 tablespoon butter

Nutrition Facts
Braised Fennel with a saffron rice timbale

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 209

  • Total Fat: 10.2 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 7.7 mg
  • Sodium: 164.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 19.2 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 6.8 g
  •     Sugars: 2.4 g
  • Protein: 2.9 g
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preparation

1.  Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the carrot, onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaf. Sauté until the onion begins to color, about 5 minutes, then work in the tomato paste and cook it a bit. Add half the wine and reduce until syrupy. Season with salt and pepper, then scrape everything into a bowl.

2.  Start cooking the rice.

3.  Brown the fennel in the rest of the oil over medium heat, turning every so often, about 15 minutes. Add the diced vegetables back to the pan, tear the basil leaves over all, add a tablespoon of the fennel greens, and pour in 1 cup water. Cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. When the pan is dry, add another 1/2 cup water and continue cooking until the fennel is tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Leave a little liquid in the pan.

4.  Transfer the fennel and vegetables to a platter, then return the pan to the stove, turn the heat to high, and add the remaining wine and the butter. Scrape the caramelized bits of debris from the pan. When the wine and butter have reduced by half, add the rest of the chopped fennel greens, taste for salt, and season with pepper.

5.  Scoop portions of rice into a cup or a ramekin, then turn each out onto a plate. Spoon the vegetables around the rice and drizzle with the pan sauce.

Cooks' note:
The fennel can be cooked hours before you plan to eat, then heated and the pan deglazed, at no cost to its quality. Start the rice after you have your vegetable base started. It will hold its heat in the pan while the vegetables cook.

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