Last night’s dinner was a simple stew built around the lovely, anise-like flavor of fennel. I began by sautéing fennel and garlic and added only minimal seasonings in order to play up the fennel taste, not distract from it. I added zucchini and mushrooms near the end, but you can substitute any vegetable you like–spinach, kale, and carrots would all be welcome here (put carrots in with the fennel to give them time to cook). Served with an equally simple salad of baby spinach, tomatoes, red bell pepper, and tangerine slices, this was a quick yet satisfying meal.
Fennel and White Bean Stew
1 large bulb fennel
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large (28-ounce) can great northern or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 small zucchini, cubed
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Prepare the fennel by removing the stalks and leaves (save them for another use). Slice about 1/4 inch off the bottom of the bulb, and cut the bulb in half, down through the middle (top to bottom). Cut each half into thin wedges, top to bottom.
Brush or spray a large pot with olive oil. Heat it, and add the fennel. Sauté for about 3 minutes and then add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the beans, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and all seasonings. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the other cup of vegetable broth, the zucchini, and the mushrooms. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender but not overcooked. Serve in bowls alone or over brown rice or other grain.