Friday, 24 July 2009

roast chicken and fennel puree


cooking has not been a priority over the last few weeks, as is pretty obvious from the number of posts here. we’ve not been at home most weekends, i’ve been out a fair bit during the week, work is a lot busier and we’ve eaten out a few times. when i have cooked, i’ve made things that are already on here.

however, one night when rich was out i made this for myself. i ate it so quickly i practically inhaled it.

roasting a chicken when you’re on your own is dangerous: all that skin and no one to share it with. it’ll turn anyone into a glutton. obviously, i ate most of it standing in the kitchen waiting for the chicken to rest (my argument was that tenting it with foil would just make the skin go soggy, so i may as well eat it before that happens or it goes cold) and the rest with my meal. i probably ate more than half of the meat too.

this fennel puree was perfect – definitely something i will be making again and again. the recipe is by valentine warner and, though it’s not exactly complicated, it makes a nice change from just braising the fennel with garlic and olive oil as i normally do.

FENNEL PUREE
for two. well, it's probably a recipe for four, really

2 large fennel bulbs
2 large garlic cloves
2 tbs olive oil
40g butter
200ml white wine
2tbs pine nuts
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper

cut the fennel into small pieces, reserving any feathery fronds for garnish later. put the fennel, the garlic, the olive oil and the butter in a pan and fry gently for a few minutes. don’t burn the garlic whatever you do. then add the wine, cover and simmer until the fennel is soft – at least half an hour and more like 45 minutes.

once it’s cooked through and soft, take the lid off and boil rapidly until the wine has reduced by half. don’t let it get totally dry – it needs some liquid to turn into a puree. take off the heat and let it cool down a little, then whizz in a blender or a food processor until it’s the consistency of hummus, or thereabouts.

in the meantime, toast the pine nuts in a frying pan until they are brown – mind they don’t burn. stir them into the fennel mixture, together with the reserved fronds or just finely chopped parsley as i did.

very nice warm or at room temperature – i can vouch for the latter as i went back to lick the pan afterwards.

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