April 20, 2011

Fava Bean Stew

It’s definitely cheating to use the photograph from the New York Times to illustrate this recipe, but my reasons are twofold: 1) my stew did not look nearly this photogenic and 2) I ate it all before I snapped a picture. Well, that happens sometimes.

You would never guess from such an unassuming pantry-staple list of ingredients how wonderful this is. I loved it like crazy, and it’s become my favorite spring weeknight recipe. It’s rich with smokiness from the paprika, creamy from the fava beans, and felt like a tonic of nourishing spring health. And though it’s not a nod to seasonality, I’m a big fan of the frozen fava beans from Goya for their ease. Because let’s be real: fava beans really are one of the most tedious characters in the vegetable kingdom, second only to artichokes. This recipe, in my book, more than justifies the slow process of popping each bean out of its inner sanctum. I called up my mom and chatted with her during the task, but you could just as easily listen to the sound of the rain falling outside your window or put on the blues and sway your hips from side-to-side for awhile; it sure feels good to bow out of the mad dash.

Photo: New York Times

Fava Bean Stew
from the New York Times
Serves 4

Red rice makes a gorgeous gluten-free substitute for the bulgur.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 pound frozen shelled and skinned fava beans, or 2 pounds fresh favas, shelled and skinned
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
1 cup coarse bulgur

In a large, lidded skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, half the parsley, half the cilantro and salt to taste. Continue to cook for another minute or two, stirring. Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant.

Add the fava beans, tomato paste, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne and 2 cups water, or enough to just cover the vegetables, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes or until the favas are tender and the stew very fragrant. Stir in the remaining parsley and cilantro, grind in some pepper and taste and adjust salt.

While the stew is simmering, reconstitute the bulgur. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the bulgur and salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and uncover. Place a clean dish towel over the pan, then replace the lid. Allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Alternatively, place the bulgur in a medium bowl with salt to taste, and cover with 2 cups hot or boiling water. Allow to sit for 20 to 25 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Drain through a strainer, and squeeze out the water.

Spoon bulgur into wide soup bowls, and top with the fava bean stew. Drizzle on some olive oil, and serve.

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Comments

  • Emily: This sounds good, but I might leave out the “1 (14-ounce) can chopped, with liquid.” Can I sub canned tomatoes? ;-) 3 years ago

  • Mwhaha. Yeah. ;) 3 years ago

  • EB: Thanks for the gluten free note! Always looking for more recipes for my wheat-free friends.3 years ago

  • Sasha: I love fava beans, and had no idea that they came frozen! I must try! Thanks for the heads up! :) 3 years ago

  • Sara Rose: LOL! I did that with this supper awesome curry I made 2 weeks ago. As I was shoveling it into my mouth, I thought I need to photograph this! Then I looked at everyones plates . . . none left. It was one of those recipes where you amazingly had made the exact right amount that there were no leftovers either. I’m still loving soups, even with spring in the air, so I may have to give this a try!3 years ago

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For those who love it, cooking is at once child's play and adult joy.
- Craig Claiborne