This is an original Wine and Dine recipe that accompanied the New Year 2011 selection of Wine Without Fuss, The Society's subscription scheme.
The focused flavours put me in mind of Chile and a lip-smacking, savoury cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay with a touch of barrel.
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- A handful of bacon bits or lardons
- A large fennel bulb or two small ones
- 250g cooked, capon, turkey or chicken, defrosted if frozen
- 100ml half-fat crème fraîche
- 250ml white wine or half wine and half chicken stock. Any leftover gravy can go in too.
- Black pepper
- 150g brown breadcrumbs
- A tablespoon of oil, perhaps a little more
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- Sage, thyme and marjoram leaves, finely chopped
- A little butter
Trim the bacon bits into matchsticks and fry until crisp in a non-stick pan. Drain on kitchen paper. Trim and quarter the fennel bulbs then chop each quarter in half again. Drop the pieces in boiling water and boil until very tender. Drain well. Cut or shred the chicken or turkey meat into bite-sized chunks and put into a deepish casserole dish with the bacon and fennel. Season with pepper, stir in the cream and combine well. Pour in the wine and stock. Mix the breadcrumbs, the Parmesan and the herbs, and enough oil to bind the mixture together. Sprinkle on the casserole and pack it down. Dot with the butter. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Bake for about 30mins until the topping is browned and the contents bubbling through volcanically. Serve with a green salad.
Janet Wynne Evans