Late Winter comes and we begin to look forward to Spring. However the weather gods have other ideas, plunging us into the coldest weather of the winter, stormy and wet, and very very cold.
We really did fall in love with dried broad beans this year. After a hiccup at the beginning – we really didn’t know a lot about how to handle these large beauties – we have settled into a routine of using them every couple of weeks. Totally delicious.
The smaller, peeled dried fava beans are easier to use, but if you can’t find them, use the larger (gigantic) unpeeled ones. The peeled dried broad beans are quite small, whereas the unpeeled ones are large beans. Soak the large ones overnight, then pop them out of their peels before cooking. If they don’t come out of the skins easily, try soaking them in boiling water for 20 – 30 mins. They should come off easily then. I like to peel them in front of the TV the night before I am using them. It makes this meditative task very easy.
This recipe doesn’t saute the onions and celery, but rather pops them into the pot with the beans and the stock. In Greece it is believed that sauteing them before hand makes the dish heavier, and if you think about it, it is an excellent observation. I like to keep this soup lighter, but by all means saute off the aromatics beforehand if you wish.
Dried Fava Bean Soup | Dried Broad Bean Soup with Potatoes
1.5 cups dried, skinned broad beans, soaked in water overnight and drained (see note below)
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 parsnip (not woody), peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay laurel leaf
3 stalks thyme
4 sage leaves
parsley, coriander leaves and/or chives, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
If the dried beans that you are using are the larger fava beans, pop them out of their peels before using.
Place the drained, rinsed beans in a heavy saucepan with potato, parsnip, onion, garlic, celery, sage, thyme and bay leaf. Add 2 litres of water and a good drizzle of olive oil, and bring to the boil.
Simmer until the beans are very tender – they may have mostly disintegrated. The time taken will vary, depending on the age and dryness of the beans. After about 20 minutes, add some salt to the soup.
When the beans are very tender or disintegrated, discard the sage leaf, thyme stalks and bay leaf. Season to taste with a little more salt, if needed, and black pepper.
Garnish with coriander leaves, parsley or chives and serve, adding a tiny squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the top of the soup.
recipe notes and alternatives
If your beans don’t fully disintegrate, pulse a little with a hand held immersion blender. Don’t puree fully, just break the beans up a little.
Half a tspn of turmeric goes very well with this soup.