Fennel Sous-Vide Fondant

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After the success of parsnip sous-vide fondant, I decided to prepare more vegetables this way. My next experiment was with fennel, and it turned out great. The recipe is very simple and very tasty. The nice thing about parcooking the fennel sous-vide is that the fennel becomes tender but stays firm at the same time, which gives it a pleasant bite. You can make a vegetarian version by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

The quality of the stock is very important for this dish, so it is best to use homemade stock, as store-bought stock often consists mostly of salt. To be able to vacuum seal the fennel with the stock using an external vacuum sealer, you can freeze the stock in an ice cube tray.

Ingredients

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fennel

chicken stock or vegetable stock, simmered down to 1/4 of the original volume, frozen in an ice cube tray, about 2 stock cubes per fennel bulb

clarified butter or olive oil

salt (if needed)

Preparation

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Cut the bottom and top off the fennel, cut into quarters or eighths, and vacuum seal with 2 cubes of frozen stock per fennel bulb.

Add some salt as well if the stock was unsalted.

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Cook sous-vide for 1 hour at 85C/185F.

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Drain the liquid from the bag into a bowl.

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Pat the fennel dry with paper towels.

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Heat some clarified butter or olive oil in a frying pan and quickly brown the fennel over high heat.

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Add the juices from the bag.

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Cook until the juices have reduced to a syrupy sauce, turning and basting the fennel in the sauce.

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Serve with the sauce spooned over the fennel.

19 thoughts on “Fennel Sous-Vide Fondant

  1. We love fennel. Baby Lady prefers it cooked. I eat it cooked or raw. Eaten raw, you get a more pronounced anise flavor; whereas, eaten cooked, you lose the anise but gain in sweetness and delightful, tender texture. I have been meaning to try it sous vide but haven’t gotten around to doing it. Of well. This post just may be what gets me off my behind to do it. It looks wonderful. Have you tried white asparagus sous vide? I was highly impressed with the outcome.

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    1. You are absolutely right about the anise flavor being lost. I really like it Italian style in a salad: raw fennel with raw garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt.
      I have certainly tried white asparagus sous-vide, and was very impressed with the outcome as well. Some of the best white asparagus comes from around here and it is in season now. I did a post on them a long time ago: https://stefangourmet.com/2012/01/14/turbot-and-white-asparagus-sous-vide-with-hollandaise-sauce/ I made this for another one of my themed dinners for 2 x 16 friends, themed “fish”.

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  2. Fennel is a vegetable that I have always enjoyed eating. Its anise or liquorice flavor gives salads a subtle flavor-kick which I like. But I have never cooked with it. I don’t own an electric sous-vide water bath but I do own a large stock pot and Ziploc bags. So all that’s left to make this recipe are the ingredients. Thank you for another simple dish. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Clayton for the nice compliment. I hope you’ll have a great weekend, too.
      I would love to hear about it if you do prepare this using a stock pot and ziploc bags, because I’m sure many of my readers will be interested in that.

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      1. Stefan, I was able to make your Fennel Sous-Vide Fondant recipe without a sous-vide cooker by using a large 8Q/7.5L stockpot, a Ziploc bag, a candy thermometer, and a gas burner.

        I filled the stockpot with cold water to within 2 inches of the rim. I placed the stockpot with the cold water on the kitchen table. I placed the quartered fennel bulb into the Ziploc bag along with 1/4 cup of chicken stock and 1/2 tablespoon of butter. I did not seal the bag completely but left a small opening for the air to escape when I did the water displacement method.

        Water displacement method: Keeping the unsealed portion of the bag above the water, push the rest of the bag below the surface of the water until the water in the pot has “squeezed” the air out of the bag through that small opening. Then completely seal the bag and removed it from the pot.

        I placed the stockpot on the stove and turned on the gas burner to high. I checked the water temperature with the candy thermometer. When the water reached a temperature of 85C/185F, I placed the Ziploc bag into the hot water. The bag floated a bit so I weighted it down with a heavy stainless steel spoon. I monitored the temperature and adjusted the gas flame so that the temperature stayed around 85C/185F. After 45 minutes I finished the recipe following the Preparation section of your recipe.

        It was delicious!

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  3. Stefan, I think you should have an arrangement with a sous-vide company. We discussed it before… if I had a slightly larger kitchen, I would have bought one… because you are an expert user chef and outstanding spokesperson! 😀

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  4. Your dedication to sous-vide cooking is laudable, Stefan. I agree with the previous commenter. You should be a spokesman for the equipment. “Paid spokesman”, I should add. 😉

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  5. I make a fennel and potato soup which is really delicious but have not known what else to do with it except to eat it raw, also delicious. Thanks for this new recipe.

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  6. Yes, I took a few pictures of the Ziploc bag before the vacuum, after the vacuum, and while it was simmering with the fennel but stopped after that. So I’ve got the stockpot cooking technique photographed. I don’t have the picture-taking-while-cooking-at-the-same-time method down yet. The camera lens kept fogging up and I was afraid of getting chicken stock on the camera. Or worse, preparing Leica Sous-Vide, hehehe. It is a nice camera; not a pro camera, but not an iPhone either. I can send you the photos if you’d like to see them.

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    1. That’d be nice! I just sent you my e-mail address.
      I’m still working on my picture-taking-while-cooking-at-the-same-time method 😉 The camera gets quite dirty as I can’t (or don’t want to) wash my hands all the time…

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  7. I have just bought a sous vide machine (I have wanted one for ages, but found it hard to justify the cost to hubby, until we found one on a super special online offer for well less than half the normal retail price). I have been finding your blog very useful in getting me started off, so thank you so much for that. I used your fennel recipe as the basis for braising some witlof (Belgian endive) and it was the best I have ever made! I am using. It again today for fennel and leeks, for a warm smoked trout and vegetable salad. I have high hopes, and thanks again for sharing your knowledge so kindly.

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    1. Hi Robyn,
      Great to hear you like my blog and sous-vide cooking.
      I haven’t tried witlof or leeks yet sous-vide, so that is something to try.
      Please let me know if you have any questions, as I’d love to help.

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