fennel – en.Kung-Food

Italians love fennel, finocchio as we call it, but Americans are just getting familiar with it. It is terrific raw and in Piedmont is dipped raw into hot oil with anchovies. It is also great solo as a braised vegetable. I love the hint of anise flavor in it and the crunchy crack under my teeth went I eat it raw as a snack. The crumbled sausages make this a very flavorful vegetable dish and it can also be used to dress pasta. Braised fennel with sausage can be made in advance, keeps well and reheats well. What more do you want out of a dish? Braised fennel with sausage also goes perfectly with some polenta. For those of us cooking each day after work, polenta is a godsend. It comes together quickly, is relatively healthful, and adds a dose of sunshine to every meal with its creamy golden hue. Nearly any one-dish stew or braise is the perfect accompaniment to polenta. And the leftovers, cut into squares, can be browned in a pan and served with tomorrow night’s supper. The flavors of the fennel mellow beautifully when paired with the sausage.
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I wanted to make something for a big event which was easy to eat with one hand while holding a drink and a squealing child in the other. A batch of homemade pork and fennel sausage rolls seemed like the perfect dish. My go to sausage roll recipe usually features pork, sage and bacon and I’ve also been known to turn out a fiery set of chorizo sausage rolls but I wanted something a little tamer which the kids could also eat. So I turned to one of Australia’s most famous sausage rolls – the Bourke Street Bakery pork and fennel sausage rolls. Most of these ended up ground into the floor (one year olds are so unappreciative) but those that did make it to the adults were pretty damn tasty. Just be careful not to overdo the fennel as it can easily overpower the rest of the flavours – you want a slight fennel kick rather than a sausage roll that tastes like strong licorice.
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