30 October, 2018
The Bean Identity – Fava Bean Puree
The food of Italy never disappoints this Italian, especially when visiting the southern regions where my family roots can be found. After a day of touring the Trulli in Alberobello we lunched at a farm nearby and were served many local delicacies. One dish that fascinated me was pureed fava beans (far left in the photo). I know most people would think, really? It's just mashed up fava beans. But I'd never had pureed fava beans that I could remember and the taste was so distinctive. It was simple, yet amazing. I knew when I returned home I would have to try to recreate this dish.
In the summer I grow fava beans in the garden, and they are devoured as soon as they are harvested off the plants. For a look at the plants and fresh beans check out this post Life Is Like A Bowl Of Favas.
However, this recipe requires dried fava beans so I had to find a source since the ones I grow in summer never make it to the drying stage. When visiting the local town markets in Italy they are displayed in several varieties. This photo is from a visit to the market in Manduria, Italy.
Back in the U.S., I found dried fava beans at Bob's Red Mill. Grocery stores carry Bob's Red Mill dried favas and some local stores stock them in their bulk section. I now keep my cupboard stocked year around.
So let's embark on this journey together and recreate these pureed fava beans.
Pureed Fava Recipe
- 1 cup dried fava beans
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Water as needed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- It's important to soak the fava beans overnight in water. Make sure they have fully emerged.
- The next day drain the fava beans and peel off any brownish bits that may be sticking to the beans. Put beans in a medium saucepan. Add chicken broth and enough water to cover by about two inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Drain beans but reserve the liquid to add back to the beans when pureeing. Cool beans for about 15 minutes.
- When beans have cooled puree them in a food processor or blender with garlic, olive oil, and reserved liquid until desired consistency. Puree should be smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, spoon bean puree into a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and more seasoning if needed.
Truth be told, my good friend from Manduria told me pureed favas are made with flour which I totally did not know and did not add to the recipe. However, after he taste-tested mine, he gave me his seal of approval, which means a LOT!
If you are not sure about trying pureed favas, I encourage you to experience it. Once cooked this dish turns out to resemble hummus. We recently had guests who tasted it and swear they were eating a delicious hummus. You be the judge!