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Flageolet Beans with Fresh Fennel

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Jesse Silver
Total time 2 hrs
Soak time 2 hrs
Yield Makes 8 cups (serving size: 3/4 cup)
Beautiful little flageolet beans are a classic accompaniment for lamb, but you can use pretty much any dried white bean for this recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups dried flageolet, cannellini, or other white bean
  • 3 dried Mediterranean bay leaves*
  • About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fennel bulb (save leafy fennel fronds for garnish)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • About 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Nutrition Information

  • calories 389
  • caloriesfromfat 18 %
  • protein 22 g
  • fat 8.3 g
  • satfat 1.2 g
  • carbohydrate 60 g
  • fiber 24 g
  • sodium 335 mg
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg

How to Make It

  1. Put beans in a large heavy pot with enough water to cover by 1 1/2 in. Bring to a boil over high heat, covered; then turn off and let sit 2 hours. Or, soak beans overnight at room temperature without heating.

  2. Add enough water to pot now and through step 4 to cover beans by 1 in. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chile flakes, onion, fennel bulb, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion softens, 5 to 6 minutes.

  4. Add 2 tsp. salt and onion mixture to beans and cook until beans are barely tender, 20 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, depending on the type and age of beans.

  5. Drain beans, keeping them a little bit brothy. Stir in parsley, pepper, and thyme and season to taste with salt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and fennel fronds.

  6. *Mediterranean bay leaves, the traditional type used in cooking, have an oval shape and milder flavor than California bay leaves, which are long and pointed and have a pungent flavor.