3 cups (2 x 400g cans) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
380g (2 cups) basmati rice, rinsed well
pinch saffron
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 large (or 6 medium) fennel bulbs
4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
2 onions, finely diced
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 pinches saffron
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 tablespoons tomato paste
750ml (3 cups) water
2 teaspoons fine sea salt plus freshly ground black pepper
flat-leafed parsley, roughly chopped

This dish is packed with flavour and is light but also very comforting. The braised fennel is based on a recipe in Deborah Madison’s cookbook Vegetable Literacy, however I’ve used ghee in place of olive oil and butter, and simplified the dish a little. If you’d like to keep this plant-based, use olive oil instead of ghee – though not quite as flavourful, it’s still delicious. If you’re soaking and cooking dried chickpeas, allow at least one day before cooking to soak.


1.Preheat oven to 200°C.
2.Transfer the drained chickpeas to an oven tray, drizzle over the olive oil, scatter with fennel seeds and lemon zest, season well with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix well and roast, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes or until crispy and golden.
3.They will crisp up more once cool.
4.These can be prepared the day before and stored in an airtight container.
5.Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
6.Add the rinsed and drained basmati, bring back to the boil and cook for 7 minutes.
7.Lightly crush the saffron strands with your fingers and place into a small bowl.
8.Pour over 1⁄2 teaspoon boiling water and set aside.
9.Drain the rice through a fine sieve, return it to the saucepan, mix through the saffron water, cover with a lid and set aside for 20 minutes before fluffing up.
10.To prepare the fennel, trim the fronds off the ends of each bulb.
11.Reserve any nice fresh green leaves, roughly chop and combine with the chopped parsley to garnish.
12.Cut each fennel bulb in half lengthwise, then each half into 3-4 wedges.
13.Heat an extra-large frying pan (if you don’t have one you can use two smaller frying pans) over a medium- high heat, add the ghee, onions, fennel seeds, saffron and dried thyme.
14.Cook, stirring often until tender and starting to brown.
15.Add fennel wedges and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
16.Combine the garlic, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper in a jug then pour over the fennel.
17.Stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
18.To serve, spoon the saffron basmati onto plates, top with the braised fennel and some of its juices, a handful of crispy chickpeas and some of the reserved fennel tops and parsley.

Recipes, food styling Emma Galloway, Photography Charlotte Hedley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.