Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fava Bean Soup, Oh My!

John and I recently made a fantastic Fava Bean Soup, using frozen fava beans (found in the freezer section of our local grocer). It was beyond scrumptious, and I'd highly encourage you to give it a shot, either as a starter course for a dinner party, or as a main dish for you and the fam. When we made this, we skipped the optional addition of bacon, and I'm pretty sure that sans bacon, it is a reasonably healthy recipe, so if you're looking for something delicious and nutritious, this is the recipe for you!

We found the recipe online, from that kook-adoo chef with the crazy hair, Anne Burrell. I tell you, she may have a gravity-defying do, but the lady can cook! 


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds shelled fava beans
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into lardons, optional (but I highly recommend it) 
  • **This is where Ms. Burrell and I part ways. We skipped the bacon, and didn't regret it in the slightest.**
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut onto 1/2-inch dice
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • cloves garlic, 2 smashed, 1 reserved whole
  • 1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock *We did 1/2 and 1/2, veggie/chicken stock.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • High quality extra-virgin olive oil *Also optional, depending on how healthy you're determined to be...


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over medium heat and set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Add the shelled fava beans to the boiling water. Once the water has come back to a boil, cook the beans for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water and immediately put them into the bowl of salted ice water. Once the beans have cooled completely, strain them from the ice water. Peel the tough, light green outer layer from the beans. You will be left with a delicate, lovely vibrantly green tender fava bean. MMMMMM! Reserve these little lovelies.
Coat a large saucepan over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add the bacon (if using, if not just start with the onions and celery) and once the bacon has started to become brown and crispy and is very aromatic, add the diced onions and celery. Season with salt, to taste, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook the onions and celery until they become translucent and are very aromatic. Add the smashed garlic cloves and the diced potato, stir to coat with the oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 2/3 of the reserved fava beans and 4 cups stock. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender enough to slide easily off a fork when cooked, puree the soup in a blender* until smooth. You probably will have to do this in batches. *Alternatively, use an immersion blender, right in the pot, and then you don't have to fuss with the blender bit at all. That's what we did, with lovely, smooth results. Return the soup to the pot, and add the remaining fava beans. If the soup is too thick, add some the remaining stock to adjust the consistency. Taste the soup to check the seasoning and reseason, if needed. Ladle the soup into serving dishes, give them a little sprinkle of grated Parmesan and a drizzle of big fat finishing oil.


*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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