An easy vegetarian meal that will stick to your ribs.
2 cans white beans (great northern beans), rinsed and drained
1 can stewed tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or cooking pot. Sauté the minced garlic with a pinch of fennel seed and a pinch of thyme. As soon as the garlic starts changing color, throw in the stewed tomatoes to cool the mixture down again. You don't want to make the garlic crispy. Stir it up and let it simmer while you rinse off the great northern beans in a colander. Put the beans into the pot and stir it up again. Heat this stuff at a medium heat -- you don't want to boil it a whole lot, just heat it up together -- and stir it every now and then. After about 15-30 minutes, serve it up. Lip-smackin' goodness.
I use a coffee grinder to chop up the thyme and fennel seed together, pulsing it just a bit to open up the fennel. I use this grinder ONLY for fennel and thyme because it would otherwise give my coffee that otherworldly licorice flavor of fennel. I also sing a certain Jim Croce song to myself as I do this.
If you need to be told how much garlic to use, try a small teaspoonful. I use a heaping tablespoonful myself.
This is also a great overnight Crock-Pot dish. Heat the oil, garlic, thyme and fennel in the Crock-Pot on high, then pour in the other ingredients, stir, set the heat on low, cover it, and come back in eight hours. It's nice to check every now and then that it's not totally dried out.
randombit suggests adding chorizo, which sounds great for non-vegetarians. I suppose any sausage that's made with fennel would be pretty damn good here.