Fennel, Pepper, and Saffron Stew with Garlic Toast
A generous handful of chickpeas and a sprinkling of Manchego cheese make this Spanish-inspired vegetarian stew hearty and satisfying.
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more for the bread
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 medium fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed, quartered lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise (3/4 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed and discarded; flesh thinly sliced lengthwise (1-1/2 cups)
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 medium cloves garlic (1 minced, 1 whole)
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Albariño
One 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/8 tsp. pimentón (smoked paprika)
2 pinches saffron
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 baguette slices, 3/4 inch thick
1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
Heat the oil in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrot, and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add 3-1/2 cups of water, the chickpeas, thyme, pimentón, saffron, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Put the bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet and brush both sides with oil. Broil, flipping once, until both sides are golden-brown, about 4 minutes total. Remove from the oven and rub each slice with the whole clove of garlic.
Divide the stew among four wide, shallow bowls, and sprinkle with the Manchego. Serve each with a garlic toast.
nutrition information (per serving):
photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 103
, pp. 68
December 30, 2009