Carrot, Fennel, Chard, and Corona Bean Stew

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Several years ago, I tasted a hearty large dry runner bean that I fell in love with instantaneously. It was so meaty that I found it a great substitute for meat when desiring a vegetarian dish. I purchased it online and then used some of beans to plant and the rest to eat. Well those planted beans were fruitful, and I have been replanting them every year since. I have one corona bean recipe in the book Sharing the Table but decided to create this new recipe, which is now a favorite.


Corona runner beans can be found online if having difficulty finding. Large lima beans and Greek gigante (giant) beans can be substituted but they tend to come out of their shells when cooked rather than staying whole and intact like a corona. If you like fennel you will love this recipe because it uses both fennel bulb and fennel seeds. I have added a recipe for vegetable broth but boxed organic vegetable broth may be substituted. The beans must be soaked overnight and cooked at a low heat to keep the beans intact with their skin. I think you will find this to be a very filling and satisfying winter dish!

8 entrée servings


Bean Stew

1 pound dried corona beans (about 3 cups) soaked overnight in filtered water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups carrots, peeled, cut into medium rounds (about 3 large)

3 cups fennel bulb, medium diced (about1 large or 2 small bulbs)

3 cups onion, peeled, medium diced (about 1 large)

garlic, minced (about 3 large cloves)

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, ground

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 dried bay leaf

1 quart vegetable stock (recipe below or boxed)

1 bunch chard leaves, washed, cut into 1x2-inch ribbons

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped (optional)


1.     Cover the dried beans with hot filtered water two inches above the beans. When cooled, refrigerate overnight to rehydrate beans.

2.     Heat the olive oil in a heavy gauge braising pan. Add the carrots, fennel, and onions. Brown over medium high. Add the garlic, ground fennel, thyme, salt, and pepper.

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3.     Deglaze with two cups of vegetable stock, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate the caramelized bits stuck to the bottom of the pan called “fond.”

4.     Add drained corona beans, thyme, bay leaf, and remaining broth to completely cover the beans. Bring to a simmer, and transfer to a slow cooker on low.

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5.     Stir every 30 minutes for two-an-half to three hours or more. Continue cooking until the beans turn from opaque white to transparent light brown and are very soft. The stock will become thickened into a sauce.

6.     Discard the thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Stir in the chard ribbons and cook until wilted. Taste, Think, Transform with salt and/or pepper if needed.

7.     Divide into six servings and top with the parsley and optional olives just before serving. Serve hot.

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Vegetable Broth

1 quart

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon shallot, minced

2 slices dried porcini mushrooms, washed

1 6x4-inch piece kombu, broken into smaller pieces, washed (optional)

1 cup carrot peels or ½ cup small diced carrots         

1 cup onion, sliced crosswise

¾ cup celery, one-fourth inch slices of equal width

½ cup roma tomato, small diced

6 black peppercorns, cracked

1 bay leaf

6 parsley stems, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon dried thyme

4 ½ cups filtered water


1.     Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Sweat the garlic and shallots over low heat until translucent and fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium high.

2.     Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduced to a simmer. Simmer for forty-five minutes to an hour. Taste, Think, Transform by considering if the flavor has been completely extracted. Cook longer if not. Do not add salt.

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3.     Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids.

4.     Use immediately or quickly chill in an ice water bath. Refrigerate. May be frozen up to three months.