I love beans. They are shape-shifters, soaking up whatever spices and seasoning you lend them. This recipe is for the fennel lovers out there, with fennel seed and fennel bulb slow poached in the flavorful broth. I massaged some lacinato kale with olive oil, salt and lemon, and poured this stew over top (not required, but I always welcome the addition of dark leafy greens).
Serve this with a big ol’ piece of crusty bread and it’s all you need for dinner.
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, minced
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tsp whole fennel seed, crushed
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 cups pre-soaked white beans
- 5 cups chicken or veg stock
- 1 bulb fennel
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, split in half
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and salt and sauté. After 5 minutes add the celery, garlic, oregano, chile flakes and fennel seed and stir to combine.
- Continue to cook, adding white wine one tablespoon at a time to prevent the onion from browning. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add bay leaves, soaked beans, stock, and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Raise heat to high and bring the liquid up to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook partially covered for 40 minutes, or until beans are soft but not broken.
- While the beans are cooking, slice the top and bottom off the fennel bulb. Reserve tender fronds for garnish. Slice bulb in half lengthwise, and slice into ¼” thick pieces. When beans have cooked for 40 minutes, stir in the vinegar and add the sliced fennel. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered, letting them poach in the olive oil on the surface.
- Add olives and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Serve a scoop of the veggies and beans in individual bowls with the broth poured over top. Garish with fennel fronds and drizzle with fancy olive oil.