Friday, April 6

Cooking: Risotto with Caramelized Fennel

For dinner tonight I was grilling chicken and wanted something different for the starch, so I decided on Risotto. A quick consultation with my refrigerator turned up a fresh Fennel bulb. I used the Fennel in three ways; chopped into a rough cut to be sautéed, sliced to roast and finally threw the green top into the stock. This lent it self to a nice mix of different flavors. As I was finishing it I decided to add just a little bit of lemon zest, and it really opened the dish up nicely, but is totally optional.

Ingredients:
1 cup Arborio Rice (rinsed and dried)
3/4 cup finely diced Onion
5 cloves of minced Garlic
1 cup of diced Fennel
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese or similar
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 tbl Butter
2 tbl Duck Fat
2/3 cup Dry White Wine fresh ground Black Pepper
Lemmon Zest to taste (optional)
1 tbl freshly chopped Parsley

For Caramelized Fennel:
3 1/2in slices of Fennel cut in rings
2 tbl good Olive Oil
Salt / Pepper to taste
Crushed Red Pepper (spicy) to taste

For Liquid:
2 32oz packs of Chicken Stock
1 cup Onion rough cut
5 cloves of crushed Garlic
green tops of one Fennel

In a medium stock put combine chicken stock, onion and fennel. Heat on high until about to boil and lower to a simmer to blend flavors.

Preheat your over to 400deg F. Slice Fennel and break apart into pieces. Put Fennel a bowl and toss with Olive Oil and spices. Spread out on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil and roast in the oven until caramelized. Once done, chop into nice sized pieces (see the photo above)

Heat a large sauté pan over a med-high fire and add the rice to gently toast. Once a nutty flavor starts to come from the pan remove the rice and set aside.

Return the pan to med-high heat and add Butter, Olive Oil, and Duck Fat. Once hot add Onion and sauté until transparent. Add diced Fennel and continue to stir until it begins to get soft. Add rice and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid in the pan. Add the wine until mostly absorbed. Begin to add the Chicken Stock one ladleful at a time only when the previous has been mostly absorbed. The Risotto will be done, when the Rice taste just right.

Gently stir in Cheese and Fennel, as well as any optional ingredients, and serve hot.

// Bloomfield, NJ // 40.8287271, -74.1865494

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