Braised Fennel and Beans with Pine Nuts

Braised Fennel and Beans with Pine Nuts

Beans and roasted fennel are a delicious combo. The fennel, when slow cooked, becomes smooth and tender and the beans soak up all that flavor. This is a soul satisfying dish for those long winter months.  

 

Ingredients

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Serves 4

    • 200g (1 heaping cup) Old Indian Woman beans
    • Olive oil, to taste
    • 2 large fennel bulbs, tough stems removed and fronds reserved
    • Salt to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle or spice mill
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle or spice mill
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock 
    • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, roasted
    • Plain yogurt for serving 
    • Crusty bread

Directions

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  1. Soak the beans overnight in plenty of fresh filtered water, or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Place the soaked and rinsed beans in a large pot, cover with 2-3 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender (30-45 min). Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat over to 400°F (200°C).
  4. Slice each fennel bulb in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thirds, trying to keep the core intact for each wedge. 
  5. Place a large, deep-sided oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Arrange the fennel wedges in a single layer in the skillet, season with salt, and cook until golden. Use tongs to flip each piece and repeat on the second side, then transfer to a plate. Work in batches if you skillet isn't big enough to do everything at once. 
  6. Once the fennel is cooked, reduce the heat to low and add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan. Add the ground seeds, turmeric, and tomato pasta. Stir with a wooden spoon to evenly expose everything to the hot oil. Cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the cooked beans and pour the broth overtop. Stir to ensure the beans are evenly coated in the seedy tomato mixture and broth. Then nestle the fennel wedges into the beans, cover with a lid, and transfer to the hot oven. 
  7. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid, then remove the lid and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the broth has reduced significantly and the fennel is tender and jammy.
  8. While the beans bake, arrange the sliced bread on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. When your beans are a few minutes away from being done, place the bread in the oven until toasted.
  9. Remove the skillet from the oven and garnish with roasted pine nuts and reserved fennel fronds and serve alongside the toasted bread and yogurt. 

By Allegra D'Agostini

 

 

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