Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Light Fennel, Red Pepper and Butternut Stew

Did you know that there are actually two types of fennel?  This vegetable has been assigned a gender.  The curvy bulbous is the female and the slender one is the male.  

Fennel is still not used much in British cooking, but it is slowly making an appearance mostly in raw salad dishes because of its crunch and  its flavour reminisce of aniseed, star anise or even licorice flavour.  Unlike the British, the French and Italians are very fond of this feathery frond stemmed vegetable.   So I was pleased to pick some up again  to make a Light Fennel, Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Stew infused with caraway seeds.  
I describe this Fennel, Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Stew as light as the sauce is not thick, its almost like a clear broth, like a consomme. It is also mildly spiced to warm your cheeks. 
This is my contribution to Food 'N' Flix this month  hosted by hosted by Heather at All Roads Lead To The Kitchen.  The movie chosen this month was French Kiss.  I watched it on youtube.  I saw the trailer and obviously the cheese plate on the train was influencing my decision to make a cheese dish, but then about 8 minutes into the movie I spotted some colourful vibrant fresh vegetables in the kitchen on the table including tomatoes, carrots and fennel.  This is just before the character Kate receives a phone call from her fiancee Charlie breaking up with her as he has fallen in love with someone he has met in Paris. 
I do like fennel, but we don't eat it much as we want as it is a bit of a luxury vegetable in our home, so I incorporated it in this light Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Stew.  I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but it is quite nippy in Wales and stews are very welcome, even light ones.  I am also sharing this broth stew with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen as it can be eaten with a spoon like a chunky soup too. 





Light Fennel, Red Pepper and Butternut Stew
Serves 4 with couscous or crusty bread
Ingredients 2 tablespoons oil1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
350g butternut squash, peeled and diced small
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 red chillies, sliced including seeds
100g carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
1 fennel, core removed and roughly chopped
300ml vegetable stock
Salt to taste.
Method
In a wide pan, heat the oil, then stir in the onion and saute until beginning to soften, then stir in the garlic..  
Cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the butternut squash, chilli and the caraway seeds.
Saute or a few minutes, before stirring in the rest of the vegetables for 10 minutes, then stir in the stock, bring to a boil. 
Then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but still holding their shape.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Simmer for a few minutes until the stock has reduced.
Adapted from Leiths Vegetarian Bible 

18 comments:

  1. I had no idea about the two types of fennel! I like the sound of this stew though.

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    1. I know, I was amazed when I read about it from an Italian chef.

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  2. I love fennel, and I also love brothy-style soups and stews, so this sounds lovely to me. And yes - there were so many veggies in that kitchen during that scene...I wondered if somebody would use that as inspiration. Thanks for playing along with Food 'n Flix this month, Shaheen! :)

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    1. Thanks Heather. You may still have another fennel recipe from me for FoodnFlix as I picked up another fennel and know exactly what I want to make with it.

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  3. The last few weeks, I've been using a lot of fennel - great minds think alike! (For that matter, I've got red peppers and butternut squash in too - clearly I need to make this stew). Stews are just the kind of comfort food I'm making right now.

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    1. Ah guess what Joey, I made another fennel dish today with pasta - i think you will like it. Not sure when I will get round to blogging about it, but its adapted from Denis Cotter of Cafe Paridiso. But your right, stews are the comfort food of the moment, esp. for those of us in the UK feeling the cold snaps come and go.

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  4. Doh---I missed these fresh veggies in my listing of food for the film. Glad you saw them and whipped this up!

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  5. Your soup looks delicious and reminds me that I need to get on my watching the film ASAP! ;-) Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week too!

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    1. Thank you Deb.
      Look forward to you FoodnFlix contribution too.

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  6. I spied that fennel on the counter, too, and was very tempted to do something with that. Yours looks fantastic.

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  7. Thank you Camilla. Your very kind

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  8. Fennel is such a wonderful vegetable...licorice spice raw and sweet and smooth when cooked. I love this stew and think your idea of serving it over couscous is wonderful. Of course, I'm a carb nut so hand me a chunk of bread too, please.

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    1. Thank you Wendy, so perfectly described by you.
      This would be indeed good with a chunk of bread too

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  9. I didn't know this about fennel...neat. I think it really made a difference in the Rustic Slow-Cooker French Peasant Soup I made this month...it has such a wonderful taste. I look forward to trying it with butternut squash one day!

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    1. ooh your Rustic Slow cooker French Peasant Soup sounds wonderful, so you have a recipe - i am always looking for ways of using my slow cooker that rarely comes out.

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  10. This looks quite beautiful and the flavor profile must be very exciting. Thank you for sharing this!

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