Soak beans overnight in a medium bowl with 1 qt. water; or boil in a medium pot with 1 qt. water 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 4 hours.
Halve fennel lengthwise, then thinly slice lengthwise, discarding core. In a medium saucepan, sauté fennel with 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat until edges brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl; chill until used.
Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil, the carrot, and onion to pan; saute until starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add beans and their liquid, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if beans start to look dry. Stir in salt, 2 tsp. thyme, and the fennel slices; return to a simmer and cook about 10 more minutes.
Chop enough fennel fronds to make 1 tbsp. and stir into beans with remaining 1/2 tsp. thyme.
*Buy from nativeseeds.org, ranchogordo.com, or anasazibeans.com
this bean dish was wholesome and toothsome. the tasty beans were certainly a plus, but i believe any kind of bean would be delicious in this simple and easy to make dish. the fennel surprised me...one doesn't usually see it is southwestern cooking, but it added a nice flavor and texture.
Excellent flavor and tepary beans make it special. Tepary beans can sometimes take 3+ hours to cook. I cooked the beans separately and in the last 45 minutes added the sauteed carrots & onions and 2 tsp dried thyme and in the last 10 minutes, the sauteed fennel and salt to taste. The broth is fabulous - served with crusty bread to sop up the flavors. Will make again for sure!
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