Spicy Stuffed Fennel Bulbs for Rosh Hashanah

Some like it hot on the chag. In Israel, few people celebrate the Jewish New Year with more culinary gusto than the Jews who live, or who have their roots in, Tunisia.

This recipe is from Haaretz's archives.

Serves 6-8


6 fennel bulbs, well washed
675 gr. (1 1/4 pounds) minced beef or lamb
3 tbsp. parsley, chopped finely
1 1/2 tsp. tabil (recipe follows)
1 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
6 tbsp. olive oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. dried bread crumbs
375 gr. spicy tomato sauce


Cut off the hard bases of the fennel bulbs and cook in lightly salted water just until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and cut in half lengthwise.
In a mixing bowl, combine the meat, parsley, tabil, pepper and salt to taste. Blend thoroughly. In a skillet, heat the oil and fry the meat mixture in it until well browned. Let cool and then mix in the eggs and bread crumbs.

Place six of the fennel halves, cut side up, on a greased baking dish and pile the filling onto them. Top with the remaining fennel halves, spoon over the tomato sauce and place in a hot oven to bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Tabil spice mixture: This is the most popular Tunisian spice mixture and is used to season meat or poultry, stuffings and vegetables. To make the mixture, combine 2 1/2 tsp. each finely chopped garlic, ground caraway seeds, crushed hot red pepper flakes and ground coriander seeds. The mixture may be made as hot or mild as one likes by varying the amount of hot pepper flakes used. Tabil may be stored nearly indefinitely in a well-sealed jar.

Daniel Tchetchik