Dried Broad Beans are a great substitute for fresh broad beans once their season has finished. They don’t exactly taste like the fresh version, but are pretty good in their own right and make the smoooooothest divine puree.
The downside is that they need to be peeled before cooking. They say that dried, peeled Broad Beans (or Fava Beans) are available, even split ones, but I have been unsuccessful in my search for them. Thus it is necessary to soak the dried beans for 12 hours, then slip the peels from them, and only then put them on to cook. Not every recipe you see will tell you this trick – it seems to be rather a secret.
This recipe can be used for older fresh broad beans – the ones that have lost their green freshness and are now rather white, and for the dried variety. Either way, the individual beans will have to be peeled.
Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs | Dried Broad Bean Puree with Herbs | Dip, Spread or Soup
200g dried fava beans (dried broad beans)
2 white onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
fennel leaves or other soft herbs
0.5 cup olive oil + extra for sautéing and puréeing
flat leaved parsley
juice 0.5 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
softer part of a fennel bulb, sliced finely
3 juniper berries
1 bay leaf
0.5 tspn ajwain seed or celery seed
3 – 4 peppercorns, black or green, or a mix
1 black cardamom
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
The day before, soak the beans in hot water for 12 hours (best overnight), then drain the beans and peel them.
Sauté the onion with fennel and/or other fresh herbs and any optional ingredients for sautéeing, until the onions are translucent. Remove the leaves of herbs such as marjoram and oregano from their harder stalks before sautéing; you can also use young celery stalks or celery leaves. Any hard stalks and harder leaves (eg sage or bay leaf) can be removed after cooking and before puréeing.
Add the beans and cover with water and the 0.5 cup olive oil. Add the turmeric, if using. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, on a low setting, stirring often, until disintegrated. Add more water if required while cooking.
Add salt and black pepper to taste and simmer for 5 minutes, removing the lid to boil off excess water.
Puree, and add some of your best extra virgin olive oil. Season and add some freshly chopped parsley.
recipe notes and alternatives
Serve as a puree, spread or dip.
The puree can be thinned and served as a delicious creamy soup. If you intend to do this, don’t boil off the extra water – stop cooking when the fava beans are tender but still have some bite. Add water to bring it to the desired consistency at this step. The most flavoursome soups are when the optional ingredients are added.
The puree will thicken upon standing.