Thursday, January 21, 2010
White Bean and Fennel Stew
I decided to combine the flavors of Sicily in a healthy stew. I used fennel and tomatoes because they are both used extensively in Sicilian cooking. All southern Italians like spicy food, which is why I added hot crushed peppers to the stew. However if you don’t like your food spicy (or you have children) red wine vinegar will add tang and acidity without heat. Here is the stew I made this afternoon for dinner tonight and the lunch the next few days.
White Bean and Fennel Stew
Makes 8 servings (approximately 2 cups each)
1 pound dried white beans, sorted and rinsed
water to cover beans by a few inches
3 bay leaves
14 ounce can tomato sauce
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large fennel bulb, finely diced (mine was 1.75 pounds), feathery fronds reserved for garnish
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes so allicin can develop)
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
12 black olives, pitted and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or 1 tablespoon of hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
Cook the white beans in water with bay leaves until they are just tender. Add the remaining ingredients until the vegetables are heated through. You want the liquid in the pot to cover the beans but not be too soupy.
Just before serving add a couple tablespoons of red wine vinegar or hot crushed peppers. If you choose the red wine vinegar you can alternately add a little to the top of the soup when serving instead of stirring it into the pot.
Garnish each serving with a fennel frond and serve hot. If desired you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on each serving for flavor.
Nutritional Information (assumes you used the red wine vinegar option):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 226.71
Calories From Fat (5%) - 11.33
Total Fat - 1.32g
Saturated Fat - 0.23g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 621.44mg
Potassium - 1320.54mg
Total Carbohydrates - 41.48g
Fiber - 10.36g
Sugar - 3.89g
Protein - 14.7g
This is a very light tasting and healthy stew. The fennel flavor is very prominent in this stew. It is also very low in fat but contains a nice amount of protein in each serving. As with all stews the flavor will improve as the soup sits and the flavors have time to marry.
Each serving of this stew contains 420IU of vitamin A, 175mg of calcium, and 7mg of iron. More importantly than that it includes 14g of protein and 10g of fiber.
Somehow I have managed to spend half my day on the phone today. I don’t know how that happens (but it often does). I guess I should just admit that I like to chat and accept it as part of who I am.
Today was a yoga day for me and I feel very calm and relaxed now. I really love yoga and its ability to remove all my stress. Too bad you can’t bottle this feeling. Oh, I guess they have but I don’t think it is legal. ;)
I still need to write the post about dinner last night, which was fabulous. We had a great time with Phil. He is always such a pleasure to be around. It is such a shame we don’t live closer. Dan and I both always enjoy Phil’s company.
For now I need to figure out what else I am making for dinner tonight and then go get it started. I will be back later.