Casserole of Black-Eyed Peas with Fennel and Tomatoes

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

This rustic, earthy dish comes from the island of Crete, where the combination of black-eyed peas and fennel is as popular as apple pie and Cheddar cheese in the United States. It's one of those wonderful culinary marriages in which each ingredient makes the other taste better.

Fennel benefits greatly from slow-cooking, developing flavor as it loses moisture. To simulate the flavor of wild fennel (which is what the Greeks use), add a pinch of bruised fennel seeds to the cultivated market fennel.


  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a few teaspoons for garnish
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, halved, cored, and sliced paper thin (about cups)
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • Tiny pinch of fennel seeds, bruised
  • 4 Swiss chard leaves, stemmed and finely shredded
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large, heavy saucepan of boiling water, cook the black-eyed peas until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, shaking out any excess water.
  2. Wipe out the saucepan and heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil with the fennel, onion, and bruised fennel seeds. Cook until soft and pale golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the chard, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, and ¾ cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20 more minutes. Serve warm or cool with a drizzle of olive oil.