Potato, Fennel and Tomato Stew



3 medium fennel bulbs

11/2 lbs new potatoes (I used a combination of red and white)

2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 lb cherry tomatoes

3 garlic cloves

12 sprigs of rosemary

2 tablespoons olive oil

24 ounces strained tomatoes (or tomato passata as they say in England)

1 rounded tablespoon harissa paste

15 oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

1/3 cup pitted olives (black or green or a combination)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon to finish (if you don’t have preserved lemons on hand – I didn’t – you can roast a chopped up lemon in the stew or use a fresh one and just squeeze over some juice at the end.)


Preheat the oven to 400 F

Trim the fennel bulbs of their bases, tops and tough outer layer reserving any green feathery fronds attached to the stalks. Quarter the bulbs then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 wedges. Put these into a large roasting dish. If you don’t have preserved lemons and you want to roast some add 2 quartered lemons at this stage).

Add the potatoes, onions, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Throw in the rosemary, trickle over the oil, season with salt and pepper and stir everything together. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes giving the veg a good stir after about 30 minutes.

Pour the strained tomatoes into a bowl with 6 ounces of water and stir in the harissa.

When the veg are tender and starting to brown, take the dish out of the oven and add the tomato mixture. Stir it in well, using the mixture to deglaze the roasting dish, scraping up any bits of caramelized veg from the base and sides.

Add the chickpeas and olives then return the dish to the oven for 20 minutes or so until the sauce is bubbling and slightly reduced.

Remove from the oven, taste, and add a little more salt or pepper if you think it needs it. Scatter over the preserved lemon (squeeze over fresh) tear over any saved fennel fronds and then bring the dish to the table.