Fennel, Leek and Butterbean Gratin

PREP TIME: 15mins


Fennel slowly braised in a mustardy and garlicky cream with a crunchy topping is just my idea of heaven!

Simply served with a side salad, this is the perfect low effort but full of flavour dish that I love to make when entertaining or feeding a crowd.

I love the fact that the fennel came from my garden and with my bumper crop this year I needed lots of fennel inspiration.

Organic fennel, with its gentle aniseed flavour is so delicious raw or braised and I feel the versatile vegetable, available most of the year, needs more appreciation.

This dish is truly moorish and frankly, I could lap this oven bake all up with a spoon straight from the oven or the fridge. The flavours really gets better with time making this the perfect ‘make ahead’ dish.

Getting Ahead: The dish can be made up to 5 days ahead.

Serves 6

Serving Suggestion:

This rich and creamy dish really only needs a simple green salad on the side.

What you'll need:

A large ovenproof dish with a lid


  • 3 large fennel bulbs, cut into 3 or 4 wedges
  • 4 leeks, trimmed, finely sliced
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 250ml cream
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 x 400g tin butterbeans, drained
  • 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, blitzed to a rough crumb
  • black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200c
  2. Place the fennel in a single layer in large ovenproof dish, add the stock and thyme leaves and gently bring to a simmer. Cook, covered for 15 minutes or until the fennel is soft. Discard the thyme stalks.
  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan gently heat the butter until bubbling, add the fennel seeds and garlic and cook until fragrant, 3 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, covered until the leeks are soft. Set aside
  4. In a bowl, add the cream, Dijon, salt and parmesan, taste and season generously with fresh black pepper. (The cream needs to taste salty as the cream will be the seasoning of the dish).
  5. Spoon the cooked leeks over the fennel and pour the cream over. Roast in the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes until bronzed and golden.
  6. Add the butterbeans to the dish and top with the breadcrumbs, bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until bubbly and golden.
  7. Serve this dish family style by placing the bubbling fennel dish in the middle of the table along with a green salad, sourdough bread, Dijon mustard and an ice cold bottle of white wine. Enjoy!
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