I was wandering through the co-op the other day looking for something new to try, and I came across these beautiful heirloom lima beans. If you were ever forced to eat the frozen green kind as a child, forget about them. These are nothing like them. The variety I used are called Christmas lima beans, if you can find them give them a try. I got mine at Greenstar Co-op in Ithaca and they are also available from Rancho Gordo and amazon. Large white lima beans will work nicely also, try cooking them from dry or you can use a can. I always pressure cook beans, check out this post on cooking dry beans. Whichever beans you use, once they are cooked this recipe is ready in half an hour. Cut the fennel in half, then into thin slices. I left the garlic in slices as well. Keep some of the fennel fronds for adding at the end of cooking, I’m really enjoying the added flavor of them this summer!
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the garlic cooking for a minute or two until it starts to brown. Add fennel, and then wine to the pan scraping to get any bits of garlic up off the pan. Cook for about ten minutes or until wine is reduced by half.
Add lima beans, artichokes, and stock to the pan and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until fennel and beans are very tender and stock has reduced.
Add lemon juice and fennel fronds, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a crusty baguette for an easy meal.
Braised Fennel with Artichokes & Heirloom Lima Beans
1 fennel bulb, tops removed, cut into thin slices, 2 tablespoons fennel fronds reserved and minced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked or canned large lima beans, Heirloom variety if available
1/4 cup white wine
1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
16 oz whole artichokes sliced in half (frozen, or packed in water in a jar or can)
juice from half a lemon
salt + pepper
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two until garlic starts to brown. Add fennel, and wine scraping any bits of garlic up. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until wine is reduced by half. Add artichoke hearts, lima beans, and stock. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fennel is tender and liquid is reduced and thickened. Remove from heat, add lemon and fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread for sopping up the juices.