Fennel is another vegetable that I never thought of using when I lived in the UK, except for maybe in a salad. This dish is one that I created myself by adapting three existing French recipes, and it has become a bit of a ‘signature dish’. It is economical, easy to make, nutritious and, though it comes down on the French side of ‘Franglais’ it is a sure fire hit with both camps……….
The marriage of flavours from the sweet caramilsed fennel to the tangy wine vinegar sauce is sublime, and if I could post the smell as it is cooking on here, I would have you all running to the kitchen to make it…………
1 large bulb of fennel cut into 8 pieces (cut in half, then quarters, then eights to maintain the form)
2 free range (eleve en plein air) chicken breasts cut into large bite size pieces.
1 dessertspoon (1 cuiller de soupe) of brown cane sugar (sucre roux)
A good glug of white wine vinegar (I prefer vinaigre de Chardonnay as it has a milder, sweeter flavour)
¼ of a pint (mls)of white wine
½ pint (mls)of vegetable stock or bouillion
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
30g butter (I like to use salted butter as this gives a better flavour)
Melt half of the butter in a large heavy bottomed frying pan with a lid (couvercle)
Add the fennel and brown the on all sides
Reduce the heat and add the sugar to gently caramelise the fennel, taking care not to burn.
Set the fennel aside and keep warm
Wipe any excess sugar from the pan and melt the remaining butter
Add the chicken and brown on all sides
Season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
Return the fennel to the pan.
Add the wine vinegar and ‘sizzle’ for a few seconds.
Add the wine and gently for 5 minutes until beginning to reduce.
Add the vegetable stock, cover and simmer gently over a very low heat for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.
Serve with a crusty baguette to mop up the wonderful juice.