Fresh fava beans are in season! Not that I have ever made favas before, or even considered making them, (a line from a famous movie comes to mind....) that is, until we went to the local produce market last Saturday. Our friend there, who owns and works at one of the stores, suggested we try the fresh favas, and then told us what to do with them- make soup. He described what to put into the soup and I understood most of what he said. (I definitely know more food-related Portuguese words than other parts of the Portuguese language. (He also told us our children were "too white" and we needed to take them to the beach at least an hour every day! Lol.)) The shop owner also showed us how to shell and peel fava beans. The shelling part- easy. Peeling the membrane-thingy off of each individual bean- not so much. I shelled them all, and then sat down at my kitchen counter with a paring knife, a bowl of favas to peel, and a few good songs. ;) I started out with over a kilo of fava pods, and ended up with exactly 8.5 ounces.
Here is the recipe I was able to make up from what our produce man described. It was very good, much better than I (or my husband) thought it would be. My daughter said it tasted exactly like a Portuguese soup she'd had at a local restaurant when we first arrived here. Score! :D We had these with fresh Parmesan rolls. More Italian than Portuguese (should have used Sao Jorge cheese!), but I'll work on that next time. ;) I used some beautiful rose-yellow potatoes in this recipe. Everything in this soup, except for the chicken broth, came from this island.
Portuguese Fava Bean Soup
Recipes and photos by "What A Dish"
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, white part only, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 medium-small red or yellow potatoes, chopped
8.5 ounces fresh fava beans (weighed after shelling and peeling)
3 ounces fresh green beans, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
fresh pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, leek and garlic, stirring occasional; cook until limp. Add carrots, potatoes, and fava beans. Add the green beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce, fresh pepper, and paprika. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until all veggies are tender. Using an immersion blender, blend part of the soup right in the pot to thicken and add texture. Alternately, puree 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup in a standing blender very carefully. Heat about one minute more, and then serve.
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