Tag Archives: fennel

Broccoli, Fennel & Sausage Bake

Broccoli & Sausage Bake 007aBy now you know how much I love a one-dish meal and yes, this is another one which is economic and the sort of dish you can throw together in minutes. It also uses a family favourite – sausages.

This is also an easy dish to ring the changes, try different vegetables and different flavoured sausages. The lemony mustard dressing adds a real flavour boast for very little effort.

When a recipe calls for sausage meat, buy good flavoured raw
sausages and remove the skins (precooked won’t work), then use as the recipe directs – our favourite are Holly pork sausages. The easiest way to remove the sausage meat from the skins is to simply push the meat out one end.

Broccoli, Fennel & Sausage Bake

Serves 4

¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
½ tsp Orcona Chipotle Flake, or to taste (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head (about 500g) broccoli, cut into small florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 large (about 200g) onion, thinly sliced
500g good quality pork sausages, skins removed, sausage meat broken into 2cm pieces

1              Preheat oven to 220°C.
2              Place oil, mustard, garlic, lemon zest and juice and chipotle flake, if using in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
3              Add broccoli, fennel and onion and toss to coat.
4              Transfer broccoli mixture to a shallow baking dish. Nestle the pieces of sausage in the vegetable mixture and bake for 20 minutes or until broccoli is tender and sausage is cooked.
5              Heat grill to high and grill for 4-5 minutes or until the top of the bake is slightly charred.

Serving suggestions: Delicious served warm or at room
temperature as a side or main dish. Accompany with your favourite sauce on the side.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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[subscribe2]Other sausage recipes you might like to try:

Sausages with Beef & Mustard Spiked Onions

Sausages with Beef & Mustard Spiked Onions

 

South African Sausage with Warm Potato Salad

South African Sausage with Warm Potato Salad

 

Fennel – An Italian Favourite

fennel bulbIn 1824, Thomas Appleton, the American consul in Florence sent seeds of fennel back to America describing it as “… beyond every other vegetable, delicious…”

Finocchio, Florence or bulb fennel is a favourite of Italian cooks and if looking for ways to use this vegetable look towards this cuisine. With its mild anise flavour this versatile vegetable can be finely sliced for salads, but is also great braised, sautéed and added to soups and casseroles. It has a particularly affinity to fish, pork, feta and olives.

The winter crop of fennel is now in season and you should be able to find at Farmers’ Markets and in fruit and vegetable shops until about August. A summer crop with smaller bulbs is also available in some areas during the warmer months.

Every part of the fennel plant is edible from the seed to the root and depending on which part of the plant is being used it is classified as a herb (leaves), vegetable (bulb) or spice (seeds). The one
characteristic each part of the plant has is that it has a pleasant
aniseed flavour and aroma, however once the bulb is cooked much of this is lost.

It is also said that if you plant fennel near your dog’s kennel it will protect it from fleas.

SELECTING, STORING & PREPARING FENNEL

Selecting: Small to medium sized bulbs are the most tender. But no matter the size bulbs should be white or pale green with no brown patches or blemishes and feel heavy for their size. The feathery tops should be bright green in colour and look fresh without any
yellowing. I always like to choose bulbs with some tops still on so I can use these for garnishing and adding flavour.

Preparing: To prepare fennel, cut off the tops, remove any
discoloured and damaged outer layers. Reserve any feathery fronds to garnish your dish.

  • For a salad, cut the bulb in half, lengthwise, remove the core, then cut crossways into thin slices.
  • The easiest way to remove the core is after cutting the bulb in half, simply cut a V-shaped wedge around the core and discard.
  • There are times when you do not need to remove the core for
    example if you want slices or wedges to hold together during cook – be guided by the instructions in your recipe.

Storing: Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and use within a few days.

EASY WAYS TO USE FENNEL
Fennel, Orange & Feta Salad: Thinly slice 2 large or 4 small fennel bulbs and 1 large red onion and place in a bowl. Peel and segment 1 orange and add to bowl. Make a dressing by whisking together
¼ cup lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle dressing over fennel mixture and toss to combine. Scatter salad with 200g crumbled feta cheese and 1-2 tbsp chopped fennel leaves from the top of the bulbs. Serve with crusty bread, a bowl of olives, a peppery rocket salad, some sliced deli meats and a glass of Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris for a causal Sunday lunch. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course.

Roasted Fennel Slices or Wedges: Preheat oven to 240°C. Cut
fennel bulb in half lengthwise, but do not remove the core. Cut halves into quarters, then into wedges alternatively cut, lengthwise, into 1cm thick slices. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add
fennel wedges or slices bring back to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain. Pour a little olive oil into a roasting pan, add fennel wedges or slices drizzle with a little more oil and roast for 20-25 minutes or
until fennel caramelises and is very tender. Delicious served at room temperature as part of an antipasto platter or hot with grilled fish or pork chops.

Sautéed Fennel: This is a great accompaniment for pan-fried fish. Prepare 2 large fennel bulbs then cut lengthwise into 1cm thick
slices. Place sliced fennel with ¼ cup olive oil, ½ cup water and salt to taste in a frying pan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring
occasionally and adding a little additional water, if necessary, for
30 minutes or until fennel is very tender. Once the fennel is very tender, uncover, increase heat and cook, turning frequently until caramelised. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4

Happy cooking and eating.

Information complied by Rachel Blackmore

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