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Kitchen Table: Lima Bean and Fennel Stew

| October/November 1993

Serves 4

• 1 cup dried baby limas
• Water for soaking plus 4 cups water for cooking
• 3 medium potatoes
• 2 large carrots
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
• 1 small bulb fennel, diced
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tablespoon tamari
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pick over and wash the lima beans, and soak them in water to cover at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain off the soaking water and place the limas in a large stewpot with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour.

Scrub the potatoes and carrots. Cut the potatoes in 1/2-inch dice. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Add the potatoes and carrots to the limas. While they are cooking, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden brown.

Crush the fennel seed lightly in a mortar and add it along with the thyme, marjoram, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of water to the onion. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced a little. Scrape the onion mixture into the bean mixture and return the skillet to the burner. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining tablespoon of oil until they turn golden around the edges. Add the mushrooms to the stew, adding more water if necessary to keep the stew from sticking.

Add the diced fennel bulb, bay leaf, and tamari, and simmer about 10 minutes or until the fennel bulb is just tender. Add the lemon juice and serve immediately.

--Jennifer Stein Barker, Canyon City, Oregon

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