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Baked Butter Beans with Onion, Fennel, Tomatoes, and Feta: Submitted by: Robert Losee | Date Added: 11 Jan 2012
Listed in: Vegetables & Side Dishes

1 lb dried butter beans (large lima beans) soaked

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, cored and cut into medium dice (1 cups), fronds chopped to yield 1/3 cup
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 3-inch strips lemon zest (removed with vegetable peeler
2 dried bay leaves
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
tsp chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

cup crumbled feta

Cooking Instructions

Serves 8 to 10.

I love the creaminess of butter beans with the mild flavor of fennel. The feta sets this off wonderfully.

1) Put the beans in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Add 2 quarts cool water, or enough to cover the beans by about inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally and adding hot water if necessary to keep the beans submerged, or until they begin to soften, about 30 minutes. The beans should not be allowed to soften much or they will get mushy by the end.

2) Reserve 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid and drain the beans in a colander. Wipe the pot out.

3) Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.

4) Heat the oil over medium-high heat in the Dutch oven. Add the fennel, onion, lemon zest, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, 1 tsp salt, and tsp pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

5) Stir in the reserved bean liquid, the tomatoes, and beans. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and bake in the oven until the beans are almost tender but still a bit firm, about 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until the liquid is thickened and the beans are fully tender, about 15 minutes more. Discard the zest and bay leaves. Let the beans cool for about 20 minutes.

6) Stir cup feta into the beans, transfer to a serving bowl, and top with the remaining cup feta and the chopped fennel fronds. Serve warm.

Based on Fine Cooking Feb/Mar 2012 recipe.

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