Fennel, tomatoes, feta and large or small lima beans combine into a luscious take on dried beans. This is great as a side or serve it as a main course with crusty bread, keeping with Greek tradition, warm pita. Adapted from Fine Cooking.
1 lb dried large lima or butter beans, soaked
2 T olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, core removed and diced; fronds chopped to yield ½ cup
1 C red onion, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t oregano
Sea salt and pepper
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
½ C crumbled feta
Put the soaked beans in a 6-quart pot, add enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered until they begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add hot water if necessary to keep the beans submerged.
Reserve 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid and drain the beans in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 400̊F.
In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, onion, lemon zest, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, some sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the beans and bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer to an oven-proof dish, cover and bake until the beans are almost tender but still a bit firm, about 15 minutes. Add more cooking liquid if necessary. Uncover and bake until the liquid is thickened and beans are fully tender, about 15 minutes more. Let the beans cool 20-30 minutes, stir in the feta and serve, garnished with the chopped fennel fronds. Serves 8.