Whenever I see fresh fava beans at the farmers’ market, I jump on the chance to snatch some up. They’re quite nice simply grilled, in stews like this one, pureed, as a filling for dumplings, in salads…
Any other fava bean (aka broad bean) fans out there? How do you like to prepare them?
Fresh fava beans are sweet, tender, and buttery to the bite. They’re one of those things I look forward to all winter long. When I spot some, I know that spring has (finally) arrived. Look for young, bright green fava beans. As the season goes on, fava beans tend to get larger in size and more starchy.
When I came across Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for a hot yogurt and fava bean soup, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. It seemed like a perfect way to welcome in spring and all its glory. The favas are pureed with the yogurt and long-grain rice until smooth and creamy. At this point, the soup is decidedly mellow and needs a little pizazz; a little jazzing up…that’s where the toppings come in.
What really brings it together is the assortment of fresh spring herbs piled on top — tarragon, dill, chives, mint (also added some edible flowers that I had on hand) — and a scattering of fresh fava beans. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted and chopped hazelnuts, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and zest.
A nice, light, tangy, and refreshing soup.
Fava beans are a bit of work. You need to shell them and skin them. They’re worth every bit of effort given the treat that awaits inside. First, remove the beans from their pods. Next, blanch them and slip them out of their skins.
What you’ll need for the soup…
Yogurt & Fava Bean Soup
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi
Vegetable stock (recipe to follow)
2 cups of shelled fava beans (from about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of unshelled fava beans)
1/4 cup long-grain rice
1 3/4 cup full-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)
2 garlic cloves, crushed into paste
1 large egg
fresh herbs for garnish (tarragon, dill, chives, chive flowers, mint, chervil), roughly chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
toasted and chopped nuts for garnish (I used hazelnuts.)
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling over finished soup
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare the vegetable stock as described below.
For the fava beans:
Prepare an ice water bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the shelled fava beans and cook for a minute or two. Drain. Immediately transfer the beans to the ice water bath. Remove the skins by gently pushing your fingers against the sides of the bean (the favas should easily slide out). Place into a bowl. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a large soup pot. Add the rice, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add half of the fava beans. Season with salt and pepper, and blend until completely smooth.
In a separate heat-proof bowl, whisk together the yogurt, crushed garlic, and egg. Add a ladleful of the hot soup and whisk together. Continue adding the hot soup slowly, until you’ve mixed about half of the soup into the egg mixture (it’s important to do this slowly so the yogurt doesn’t split due to differences in temperature). Pour the tempered yogurt back into the pot with the remaining soup.
Place the soup on medium heat until warmed through. Watch to make sure it doesn’t boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into four shallow bowls. Evenly scatter the remaining fava beans on top. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest, sprinkling of chopped nuts, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.
reduces to ~ 3 cups stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks (with leaves), roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, whole, gently crushed with side of knife
5 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
small handful of parsley
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat until soft, but not browned. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and parsley, and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain.