Thursday, 7 October 2010

When Fennel met Chard

I realise that I have not up-dated you on my tiny garden plot recently. The weather has been extremely dreich (a Scottish dialect for dreary) and miserable.
Every time we make plans to work our little bit of land, it doesn’t just rain – it literally pours - buckets full too. So garden work has been postponed a number of times. But I have managed to pick some veg.
A handful of runner beans
last of the kohlrabi, a bunch of bolted chard and two of these fennels. This year I’ve grown the fennel in pots, they’ve done really well
The beauty of growing your own fennel is you get the glamorous green feather fronds. They are pretty for the table, but good for garnishing too. You can mince a tablespoon and scatter over this dish if you wish too.
Once ladled over the rice, this Black eyed bean dish with fennel and chard was soupy like. For me it was one to eat with a spoon, but D was happy with his knife and fork. The fennel flavour is faint in the background, not dominating the dish too much. It was also very light, leaving room for something sweet later.
Chard and Fennel with Black – eyed beans
Serves 2 - 4
2 bulbs of fennel
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tomatoes, chopped
½ - 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
300ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin of black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed
160g Swiss chard, leaves only, washed and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tablespoon fronds from the fennel, minced OR a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Trim the roots from the fennel and remove and discard the outer leaves. Slice the fennel thinly.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fennel and fry over low heat for about 10 minutes until very soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and cook for 1 further minute. Stir in the coriander, tomatoes, fennel seeds, stock and cooked beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the greens and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, until slightly reduced and well flavoured. Stir in optional minced fennel fronds or coriander. Serve with rice.


  1. That sounds really good - I'm glad you said that the fennel stays in the background - I like just a little bit...

  2. I have most of these ingredients on my allotment, and is it is gluten free and vegetarian, I'm going to give it a go. I get really stuck on new things to cook being a veggie coeliac, but have noticed you have loads of things on your blog I can do...Thank you :)

  3. how wonderful that you still have bounty from your garden! One day I would like to have a veg and herb garden in my backyard, but I am terrible at remembering to water. Still, it is on my lifelong "to do" list! All your recipes make me drool!

  4. What a perfect fall meal! I love anything with black beans :-)

    Oh did you put in your city at LOCATION CENTRAL yet? It's the blog where you find other bloggers in your area.

  5. Mmm, this looks like a great combination of ingredients. I've never tried growing fennel - did you grow them from seed?

  6. Your soup looks so wonderful! I have really been craving soup now that our weather has been colder. I love fennel so much, and I love the fronds! Your right, they are great for a good garnish!

  7. Welcome back Jacqueline. You have been missed

    Thank you affectioknit.
    If you wanted you could reduce the fennel and the fennel seed further.

    Thank you Charley.
    Just sent you an e mail. x

    Promise to feature some pumpkin and squash recipes soon. The first though is going to be a chilli pumpkin chutney :)

    Thank you Darlene of considerthelillies.
    I wish it was a bounty, but its still feeding me some dishes! I know you say One day you'll have a veg and herb garden in my backyard, but right now i'd encourage you to grow some hardy herbs in pots.

    Thank you Jen.

    Thank you so much offmotorway.
    Yes, I did grow the fennel from seed. Its one veg I've been pretty successful with.

    Thank you Morgan.
    This is def. a dish for wintery days. Wrap up and stay warm.

  8. Just made this - totally yum! I've never really known what to do with fennel, which looks so alien, so this was a great start!

  9. Thank you for letting me know Cott.
    And so pleased to learn it was a good introduction.
    I have one more home grown fennel to enjoy!

  10. What a festive dish for the eyes & the senses!!

    MMMM,..;I so much love fennel & Swiss chard too!

    This will be my dinner for tomorrow evening!

  11. Thank you Sophie.

    I do hope you enjoy :)

  12. I'll have to try growing fennel in pots - I love it but I've been afraid to try it in the garden because I've heard it stunts the growth of whatever else you plant nearby!

  13. Amy,
    Just make sure the pots have some depth.
    When I grow them in the ground, I usually put them at the end, so they don't interfere with other veggies. I think they'll be fine near herbs.

  14. A few days, ago, I made this delightful dinner but served it with chicken saugaes & cooked Thai rice with freshly chopped corainder leaves in it!!

    I think I will post about it soon, because other people must have one of your amazing recipes. I used 1x 400 gr tinned cherry tomatoes.

  15. So good and pleased to read you enjoyed this dish with a Sophie variation of course.

    Look forward to seeing it on your blog too.
    Kind wishes


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