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Curried Fennel

ingredients

6 bulbs fennel
1 clove garlic
1 sprig fresh thyme
7 fl oz (200 ml) chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp mild curry powder
1 1/2 oz (40 g) grated hard cheese
2 oz (60 g) fine breadcrumbs
2 oz (50 g) butter
salt and pepper

method

1. Set up the steamer ready for use, with the water heating in the lower compartment.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) mark 5. Prepare the fennel, rinsing well, dry and slice lengthwise into wide, fairly thick slices. Steam for approx. 10 minutes or until just tender. Alternatively, boil until tender.

3. Melt 1 oz (30 g) butter in a frying pan and fry the fennel gently on both sides with the peeled garlic clove and thyme sprig for about 5 minutes to brown lightly.

4. Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper and the stock mixed with the curry powder. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Transfer to a buttered gratin dish, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs, dot a few flakes of butter
here and there and brown in the oven for 10 minutes.

6. This dish can be prepared in advance, sprinkled with the topping shortly before placing in the oven and given a little longer to heat through and brown.

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