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seasonal root veg in this weeks boxes:
celeriac, parsnip, swede, beetroot
seasonal root veg in this weeks boxes:
celeriac, parsnip, swede, beetroot
Braised Leeks with Fennel

Braised Leeks with Fennel

Chile-Fennel Oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoon red chile flakes

Fennel & Leeks
1 Leek, carefully cleaned, halved, and cut into 1/2 inch slices.
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tb olive oil, divided
2 bulbs fennel, bottoms and stalks removed (soup), fronds reserved, and cut into 3/4 - 1 inch wedges, keeping some of the base in-tact so they hold together
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup no-salt-added vegetable (or chicken, if you aren't vegan) broth.

Hummus
1 540 ml/19oz can of chickpeas, with liquid reserved. You should have about 3/4 cup of liquid and 372 grams or 2 cups of chickpeas
2/3 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 tea salt

Make the Chile-Fennel Oil: Heat the olive oil, fennel seeds, and red chile flakes over medium-low heat until oil begins to sizzle - 5 min - Be careful not to take these too far. You won’t hear much of a sizzle, but you will be able to see small bubbles around the seeds and chile flakes. Turn down the heat to low and allow the seeds to infuse into the oil for another 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside in a heat-proof dish.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (205C).

Prep the Leek Mixture: Chop off both end of the leek. Slice in half lengthwise and carefully clean out the dirt from the layers (there can be a lot of dirt inside). Slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. You can discard the green parts, but I like to use them.

Toss the leeks, onion and garlic slices with 1 tb of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.

Sear and Braise the fennel: Chop off the bottoms and stalks (you can save these in the freezer for making stock), set aside the fronds. Cut the bulbs into 1“ wedges and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tb oil and 1 tb butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Sear fennel wedges for 2-3 minutes on each side, in batches if necessary. Add stock to the skillet, bring to boil, lower the heat down to a simmer, cover the skillet and allow to braise for 20 minutes, or until the fennel is easily pierced with a fork. Remove cover, raise heat back to medium and reduce the liquid to a glaze, about 30-40 minutes.

Roast Leeks: Meanwhile, put the tray of leeks in the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes until dark and crispy. Check on the leeks often towards the end of cooking time - don’t be afraid to let them char blacker than you might think, you are looking for that bitter char flavour to compliment the sweet braised licorice-flavoured leeks and the spice from the chile-oil.

Make the hummus: in a blender or food processor, blitz together the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and 1/2 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid. Add more of the reserved liquid, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
To serve: Spread the hummus on the bottom of individual plates, or one large serving platter. Top with the braised fennel, sprinkle the roasted leek mixure over the fennel, and top it off with a generous drizzle of the chile-fennel oil.

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