1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 large fennel bulb
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground saffron or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 handful fennel greens or flat-leaf parsley
Although the original Braised Fennel and Tomato recipe we came across called for saffron, it’s not an easy cooking ingredient to come by (and it can be a little pricey), so we experimented with smoked paprika and it’s turned out wonderfully – perfect flavours for a cold Winter’s eve.
- Rinse the rice thoroughly, drain and place in a medium saucepan together with the water. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes. Set aside, ready to serve.
- Trim the stalks and greens from the fennel bulb. Slice the onions, and mince the garlic.
- Mince the greens for a garnish, or if there are none, you can use parsley.
- Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise and cut the halves into wedges about 4 cm wide, at the widest part. Halve the zucchini and cut into wedges.
- Heat the olive oil in a wide sauté pan over medium-to-high heat.
- When hot, add the onion and fennel seeds, saffron/paprika and thyme. Cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Add the fennel and zucchini wedges, and cook them until golden, turning them and the onions occasionally.
- Once they are well coloured, add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste, and then add the water and salt & pepper.
- Scrape the pan to release the juices, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Serve with brown rice and fennel greens or flat leaf parsley.
Hints and Tips
If you don't have saffron or paprika, consider using turmeric for colour - though it will alter the flavour a little.