How to Make Fennel, Broccoli and Potato Bake

This hearty bake is a reliable fail safe if you have a surplus of these ingredients, or had bought fennel but have no idea what to do with it. It is excellent as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fennel bulb, washed.
  • 1 medium broccoli cut into small florets
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tablespoon worth of fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flour (variation: 2.5 tablespoons Gravy powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying.

Steps

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    Prepare your fennel by slicing off the green leafy sprouts and cut in half from the top down. It should now resemble a large onion cut in half. Slice these into thin wedges (head to tail, each cut on an angle going inwards to the centre) about 1 centimeter (0.4 in) thick.
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    Peel & slice your potatoes into thin slices (approx 1/6th inch or just under half a centimetre).
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    Heat a saucepan of water large enough to hold the sliced vegetables (except the potato) until just boiling & heat a non stick pan with a little oil.
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    Fry the potato slices in the pan until a nice golden colour. They don't need to be fully cooked through, but browning the slices will give more flavour. Put aside when cooked on a plate lined with a paper towel.
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    Blanch the broccoli florets about half a minute before removing with a slotted spoon. Aim to have them about half cooked through. Then add the fennel in the same boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables and put aside. This way the vegetables will cook quicker in the oven and cook more evenly.
    • It is not essential to blanch the broccoli, but raw broccoli will add a different flavour to the dish and may be a little too undercooked when the rest of the ingredients are cooked through.
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    Melt the butter in the other saucepan and add the flour (or gravy variation), stirring well to make a "roux".
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    Add the milk gradually stirring well until smooth and simmer for 2-3 minutes. It should be the consistency of pouring cream, if it's consistency is more liquid, cook a little longer, if too thick add a little more milk.
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    Add salt and pepper to taste and the garlic to the sauce, stirring well.
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    Heat oven to 200C/392F
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    Layer in a baking dish layers of fennel, broccoli and fried potato, pouring the sauce in occasionally to ensure even distribution. Top with the remains of the sauce.
    • If you cooked the sauce in a large pan, you may also add all vegetables into the sauce, stirring to cover then transferring to the baking dish. This is a lot quicker but the final product does not look as neat if you are cooking for a special event.
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    Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Top with the chopped parsley and serve.

Tips

  • If you are cooking a main meal to go with this, you can fry it in the same pan you fried the potatoes (if clean) in while it is baking to save time and washing up.
  • A lot of added vegetables such as sweet potato / Kumara or other mild root vegetables, fried in the same way may be added in the layers,
  • Strong tasting vegetables such as parsnip may be fried or blanched if they are too strong.
  • Grated cheese is also a good topping.
  • Blanching the fennel in boiling water removes much of the strong anise flavouring, however if you like the strong flavour, don't blanch it but use it raw, just slice it a little thinner.

Warnings

  • Practice care precautions around hot dishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife & Cutting board
  • 2 saucepans & 1 colander,
  • 1 frying pan & spatula
  • Plate with some paper towel
  • Stirring implements
  • 2 Litre (approx) Baking dish. You may otherwise use the frying pan you fried the potato in if it is large enough and oven safe.

Article Info

Categories: Potato Dishes | Vegetarian