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Author Notes: This is a simple preparation for dried beans that makes a tasty side dish for sausages, grilled meat or fish. I created it for an heirloom variety called arikara (cultivated by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello), but this recipe would also work well with anasazi beans. You simmer the beans with fennel fronds and lemon peel, and then toss them into a pan of roasted peppers and fennel so that they get coated with all of the caramelized juices and oil from the roasted vegetables. —Fairmount_market
- 1.5 cups dried beans such as arikara or anasazi
- 4 cups water, or more if needed
- 1 lemon
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 red pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- To cook the beans, rinse the fennel bulb and cut off the fronds. Remove the peel of the lemon in one long strip, using a vegetable peeler. Combine the beans and water and layer on the fennel fronds and lemon peel. Cook with low heat on the stove top or in a slow cooker until the beans are soft but still firm. Make sure the beans stay submerged in water and give them an occasional stir (or swirl in the slow cooker) to ensure that they cook evenly. The cooking time will depend on the dryness of the beans; mine were done after 3 hours on low in a slow cooker. When the beans are tender, remove the fennel fronds and lemon peel and salt generously. Strain the beans, which should be approximately 4 cups when cooked (if you like, you could cook more dried beans, and reserve the remaining beans and flavorful liquid for a soup).
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the fennel bulb and red pepper into approximately 3/4 inch chunks. Toss them in a large ovenproof pan with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes. When the vegetables are soft, caramelized, and starting to char, remove the pan from the oven and immediate stir in the 4 cups of drained beans, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix in all of the caramelized vegetable bits. Enjoy.
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