Fresh Fava Bean Soup

Monday, August 1, 2016

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No matter what you call it, broad, fava or faba beans, this peasant bean crops up in infinite ways for e.g. falafel (Egyptian version), the unmistakable smelling ful medames, crunchy fried snacks, dips, casseroles and soups. There's the dried sort sometimes with the skin left on and the fresh which comes in bulging bright green pea pods. I bought a packet of fava beans from Puglia and made a soup when I got back home. It wasn't as tasty as this soup, though using fresh beans requires abit of planning, allocate some time to double peel (there's an inner layer!) good idea to grab the kids and make it a family affair. I actually find the monotony of shelling very relaxing. These beans are grown in Sweden, yay, and it's the season so look out for them at the greengrocers. In Puglia they have a traditional dish called fave cicoria which is made from the dried bean that has been cooked to a thick consistency like a polenta and it's served with sautéed wild chicory. Typical peasant fare, the region excels at simple staples such as vegetables, pasta, seafood and olive oil. Classic mediterranean.

The green beans morph into a pleasing yellow colour once it's cooked. I couldn't find any chicory here so this soup is more liquid, enough to feed hungry young mouths. But I was thinking along the lines of fave cicoria, same consistency (made with less stock) topped with the bitter tasting chicory leaves. I'll keep on searching as there is still time before the fava bean season is over. In the meantime I've been sipping coffee made from chicory in a focussed effort to reduce my coffee caffeine dependency.

Fava Bean Soup
After discarding the pea pod you need to remove the inner layer which is a translucent cover that holds the bean together.

1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 small carrots, diced
2 small stalks of celery, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
1 tsp salt
Pinch of Pepper
1.2kg fresh fava beans, shelled (approx. 410g when shelled)
700ml vegetable stock

In a large saucepan gently heat the olive oil before adding the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute the vegetables over a low heat, stirring often, until they have softened and are golden in colour. Add the salt, pepper and fava beans and stir well for a few minutes. Add the stock, it should cover the vegetables, and simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on until the vegetables are nice and soft. Turn off the heat and puree with a hand blender until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with sweet potato crisps.

Serves 4.