WINTER GARDEN CHIMICHURRI with Baby Fennel

This weekend I gardened. It has been quite a few months since I set aside a good chunk of time to potter around the garden. With the launch of my new cookbook 2 months ago it has been a busy time, but life is slowing again and I find myself settling into the slower pace of winter. The knitting needles are getting plenty of use (I am currently about two-thirds through this snugly jersey) and the garden is receiving some much needed TLC. Since I missed my window to plant more winter crops I have decided to rest and re-nourish (with green crops) a large portion of the garden this season. Which I am sure in itself is a good thing, although the garden looks rather bare…

I prepared a bed to plant garlic this week (I have 80 fat cloves saved from last season), and I finally removed the tomato plants from the glasshouse to find a handful of ripe (and ripening) fruit hidden in the depths of the tomato jungle (as pictured and devoured). The broad beans and snow peas are climbing to the sky, and there is enough kale and silver beet to harvest several times a week. Plus a little weeding revealed sweet baby fennel bulbs sprung from the roots I cut flush to the ground last month (I wrote about baby fennel and how to grow them HERE last winter). I also found coriander seedlings popping up throughout the asparagus bed, rogue-style from the plants I let go to seed last season. Actually, there is plenty to harvest in my winter garden.

Today I want to share a recipe I have been making regularly for many months and one that has become a weekly addition to my food prep. In fact, it has become so much a part of my kitchen routine that it really deserves to be in the pages of my cookbook along with all my other everyday recipes. Alas, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I was a little slow to find a taste for chimichurri. A green sauce that can be made all year around, but in winter it is truly at home when the herbs found within are most abundant. And let’s face it, sitting down to a mountain of raw salad is not so appetizing in winter ,but a drizzle of a spicy green sauce packed with phyto-nutrient rich herbs is totally doable.

P.S. I have started sharing ‘stories’ on Instagram – it takes me a while to work out how to use new additions to social media, but one I am enjoying. I like that I can share some real-life happenings such as what I am up to in the garden, cookbook news and possibly a few too many sourdough breads fresh from the oven 😉 Oh, and in case you are wondering, the bread in the images is my sourdough beetroot bread.

Winter Garden Chimichurri with Fennel

You will notice two variations in the recipe. The first uses apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar if this is what you have) the second utilises the lacto-fermented juice of sauerkraut or fermented brine pickles (both recipes in my cookbook). I make option 2 most often as there are always jars of ferments in my fridge (and have been well before they became popular!) and I love enlivening what I can with the probiotic goodness contained in their liquid. Whatever version you make I hope you give this recipe a go, it gets drizzled over almost everything around here - OK maybe not chocolate 😉

Ingredients

the measurements can be quite fluid for the herbs, use what you have on hand:

large handful fresh coriander

large handful fresh parsley

small handful fresh mint

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 baby fennel bulb (optional - could also use about 1/4 large fennel bulb)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon salt

option 1: 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

option 2: 3 tablespoons sauerkraut juice/brine from fermented pickles

about 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the herbs, garlic, fennel, paprika, chill, salt and vinegar OR sauerkraut juice into a food processor. Pulse to roughly chop the herbs and fennel. Drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing the engine until a thick green sauce is achieved - adding extra olive oil if required. Don't over mix as you want a little texture in this sauce. Check taste adding extra vinegar or salt if needed. Pour into a jar* and store in the fridge, use within 7 days. Spread on sandwiches, drizzle over slow-cooked lamb or chicken, or add a dollop to soup.
  2. *If making option 2 with the sauerkraut juice you can leave the sauce at room temperature (18-22°C) for 36-48 hours to begin the lacto-fermentation process. This is totally optional and doesn't change the flavour markedly, but gives the healthy microbes from the sauerkraut juice time and warmth to spread through the sauce. The cold temp of the fridge will slow down fermentation.
http://www.homegrown-kitchen.co.nz/2017/06/19/winter-garden-chimichurri/

*Find detailed information about fermentation in my new cookbook Homegrown Kitchen – Everyday Recipes for Eating Well.

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4 Comments on “WINTER GARDEN CHIMICHURRI with Baby Fennel”

  1. Thanks Nicola for yummy recipe but wondering what I could substitute for the fennel if not available? I am going to try your jersey pattern too.

    1. Hi Shona, you can leave the fennel out and just add an extra handful of herbs – any selection. I have also added rocket when I have plenty in the garden. It is a little more pungent in taste but still tastes delicious.
      That is great, I am halfway through the first arm, can’t wait to finish it so I can wear it this winter!
      Warmest, Nicola

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