30 October, 2018

The Bean Identity – Fava Bean Puree

The Bean Identity – Fava Bean Puree
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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

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried fava beans
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Water as needed
  • clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. It's important to soak the fava beans overnight in water. Make sure they have fully emerged.
  2. 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.
  3. Drain beans but reserve the liquid to add back to the beans when pureeing. Cool beans for about 15 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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