Simmered fennel, tomato, ginger and broad beans


This summery stew emerged from a hankering for something light and tangy to plonk onto a bowl of plain leftover couscous prior to heading to the pub, with about 20 minutes to do it.  There was a Regather fennel bulb begging for attention. Very fresh, very rustic.

Variation:  if you don’t like or have fennel, this could be adapted for courgettes.  Pan fry courgette slices on each side, using only the tiniest bit of olive oil, until pale bronze splotches begin but the flesh isn’t squidgy. Put aside. Cook the ginger, garlic, tomato, stock etc as above, then add the courgette slices and simmer it all together for a couple of minutes before serving.


  • 1 Medium Fennel Bulb chopped into chunks
  • 2 small tomatoes chopped coarsely
  • Handful of fresh broad-beans, podded
  • and/or handful of young spinach leaves
  • Couscous
  • 1 cup of veg stock
  • Small chunk of Ginger, (about 2x1.5cm) halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Prepare your couscous and set aside.
  2. Remove the fennel fronds and set aside. Cut the bulb into quarters length-wise. Trim and discard the toughest bit of the base. Cut quarters into fork-friendly generous chunks.
  3. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil to wok or pan and bring to medium heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring, for about 3 mins.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic, stir and cook for 1 min. Add the tomatoes, stir and cook for 2-3 mins.
  5. Add the veg stock, lemon zest and pinch of sugar (to mellow the tomato acid). Simmer for 8-10+ mins depending on how thick your fennel is and how soft you want it. If the liquid reduces too much, add a splash more water. If you're using broad beans, add a couple of mins before the end. If using spinach, add right at the end. Season to taste.
  6. Serve on the couscous, garnish with the pretty fennel fronds, grind on some black pepper.