Savory green bean-fennel stew

This green bean and fennel stew contains a burst of bright flavors, from sharp ginger to savory tarragon to the fennel itself. The combination of flavors is a bit unusual in a way that will make you wonder why you don’t eat this more often. This is a great way to enjoy all the green beans at the market right now, and makes for a good meal alongside of rice.

And a greens guy like mine really means you should be eating green beans. Everything at his stand is bright green and beautiful. Bunches of fresh Turkish spinach, bundles of other leaves, hand-shelled peas in season, and heaps and heaps of green beans. This is the guy who came chasing after me when I left behind a bag full of produce that I’d paid for. His other customers include chefs.

Really, I don’t have too much more to say about this dish, aside from noting that we’ve had this several times lately. No need to say more, right?

For 6-8 servings:

1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 fennel head
oil for frying
1/2 kilo (1.1 lbs) green beans
800 grams chopped tomatoes (2 lbs) or 1/2 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Thinly chop the onion and fennel, and crush the garlic. Put the onion and garlic in a pot with a small amount of oil on a medium flame, and cook for a few minutes until the onion begins to brown. Add the fennel and green beans, and cook a bit more.

Add the tomatoes or the tomato paste to the pot, along with the salt, pepper, ginger and cardamom. Top with enough hot water to just cover the vegetables, and bring to a low simmer. Cook until the green beans are soft.

Once cooked, stir in the fresh chopped herbs.

To make the rice pictured in the photo:

1 onion
about 1/2 cup short vermicelli
1 cup precooked chickpeas
2 cups Jasmine rice

Fry the onion in some oil in a pot. Add the vermicelli, and let the vermicelli fry as well, until lightly browned. Add the chickpeas, rice and 3 cups water. Add salt to taste. Cover, bring to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes, until the rice is soft. Shut the flame, and leave covered for another 10 minutes or so. Fluff and serve.

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