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Braised Fennel with Leeks and Eggplant

Fennel is one of the most unique and delicious vegetables. In this recipe, we slowly and sweetly braise it with Japanese eggplant to create an elegant side dish that's so easy to make, you won't wait for a special occasion to treat your tummy! 

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil
5 fresh garlic cloves, halved
Sea salt
3 small leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and crosswise, rinsed very well
2 small Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise, thick slices
1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
1/3 cup mirin
1/2 cup Pearl Green Tea soymilk
1/3 cup sweet white miso
Fresh lemon juice

Directions 
Place a generous amount of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Lay garlic cloves, sprinkle lightly with salt and lay leeks, eggplant and fennel in pan, trying to avoid lots of overlap and layering (the veggies will brown best if they are not too thickly layered). Cover and when you hear active sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and allow veggies to cook, undisturbed, until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.

While the vegetables cook, prepare the miso sauce. Place mirin and soymilk in a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk in miso and cook over low heat, whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Do not boil.

Remove the cover from the skillet and check the vegetables for tenderness. If any liquid remains, raise the heat and cook until any remaining liquid cooks away. Transfer veggies to a serving platter and spoon miso dressing over top. Sprinkle very lightly with lemon juice. Serve hot. 

Makes 4 servings.

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