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Jenise

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IOTM: fennel in Chinese stir fry

by Jenise » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:53 pm

Made two dishes last night to test fennel as a Chinese stir fry ingredient, thanks to Sue Courtney's suggestion.

1) Fennel, celery and onion: first, ginger and garlic were lightly sauteed in some light olive oil, then fennel in half inch wide slices, celery cut on the diagonal into long slices, and half inch wide strips of white onion were added. Those were tossed together for about a minute, then about 1/4 cup of chicken broth was poured over and the vegetables finished cooking in the evaporating liquid, about two more minutes. SUPERB! My fennel bulbs were young males with bright green centers and hardly any core, so the colors of the finished dish were beautiful bright white and green. I served it while the vegetables were still lightly crunchy.

2) Fennel, pork and oyster mushroom in oyster sauce: I cut the pork into 1/4" strips and marinated them in about two tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon of whiskey for several hours, then lightly poached the meat in simmering water and rinsed. In the wok garlic slices were sauteed with the fennel in a little hot olive oil, then after a minute they were joined by the mushrooms and leaves of four baby bok choy. When the mushrooms began to wilt, I added the pork, oyster sauce, and a little chicken broth/sherry/constarch slurry to finish.
This was very, very good and the fennel added a lovely flavor and texture, but I have to admit that, especially after the brilliant colors of hte first dish, the oyster sauce unacceptably discolored the fennel. To correctly combine these ingredients, one would have to prep the fennel separately and add back only at the last minute.

Still in all, a very worthy experiment. Fennel is brilliant in Chinese stir fries. Thanks, Sue, for bringing that to our attention.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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