My ingredients deviated a little with the addition of some swiss chard that I'd optimistically purchased for another dish. In my head it seemed like it would taste good here, too.
I used vegetable broth instead of water for the liquid. In hindsight, water probably would have been just fine. The stock added more richness, almost to overkill.
I foolishly started cooking rather late. After two hours, the beans were still too chewy, and I was falling asleep, so I threw the whole shebang in the fridge and called it a night.
Today I finished cooking the soup and put the chopped-up chard in for the last half-hour, then started on the caramelized fennel finish/garnish. I was tempted to skip this out of laziness, but Grant stresses that this step really makes the dish.
It says 3 servings. Yeah, maybe for Thumbelina.
Do you like my measuring cup? Don't worry; I don't use it for dog food. It's just a good size for measuring small amounts.
Wow, that caramelized fennel came out all tangy and interesting. I was tempted to devour it all on the spot. But most of it went into the soup pot. I reserved some slices for garnish, along with fennel fronds.
This is a mighty tasty dish, and the caramelized fennel does indeed "make" it. Next time I will soak the beans overnight first to reduce cooking time and will use water instead of stock. You get plenty of richness from the vegetables already in there.
I'm thinking it could indeed benefit from some browned chicken sausage, too. I have plenty of soup to throw in the freezer, so when I serve it next, I'll just cook up some sausage and add it.