Fennel is one of those herbs that, once you discover it, you wonder where it’s been all your life. Fresh, crisp and clean, the fennel plant rally has SO much to offer.
I had been wanting to do a braising sauce with yogurt for a while. Well, you know what? You can't. For one, cooking yogurt over 120 degrees kills all the good bacteria — and nobody wants that. Also, the stuff just burns and curdles.
So I decided to do a white wine sauce and mix yogurt into it.
You just need a white wine that is dry or off-dry, with grassy notes and some good acidity and minerality to it. It almost needs some salt on the palette.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
White Wine Braised Fennel
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- lemon peel
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Clean and quarter the two fennel bulbs. You can see my video on How to Cut Fennel for doing this. (By the way, did you know that fennel is also rich in vitamin C and fiber?)
- Using the dutch oven (heh), melt 1 tablespoon of butter over a medium-high heat and then add in the 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add the quartered fennel, cooking it until it’s browned on each side. This should take about 5 minutes total.
- Add 1 cup of wine, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 sprigs of thyme and a lemon peel. Bring the mix to a boil and then turn off the heat.
- Cover the fennel with parchment and place the lid on the dutch oven (tee hee!). Bake it at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until fennel is tender.
- Remove the fennel and all the other bits from the pot, leaving just the braising sauce. Place the fennel in an oven-safe dish, putting it back in the oven. You want the oven to be off, but it should still be warm from before.
- In a separate bowl, mix the tablespoon of flour into the 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, until it is smooth.
- Now temper the yogurt by adding the braising sauce to the yogurt, a couple tablespoons at a time to start. You don’t want it to curdle.
- Transfer the yogurt mixture to the pot, add in the remaining thyme leaves, and bring it to a very low simmer. Keep in mind, heating yogurt over 120 degrees F destroys the beneficial bacteria.
- Add in the fennel, cover and turn off the heat.
- Top with a few slices of lemon and sprigs of thyme when serving. Enjoy!
Related recipes on MNN: