Our favorite way to cook fava beans is to simmer them in a spicy Portuguese sauce, but sometimes I like to fix them with a little less heat. Today is Father’s Day, and I made Stewed Fava Beans as one of the many sides we made to go with a huge ham. If you can’t find dried fava beans, you can pick up Fava Beans 1 lb Organic at Olive Nation online. You can find them locally in specialty stores around here, but I also found them in grocery stores in New England.
Fava beans have a hard outer shell. There are recipes where you cook the bean in the shell then remove it before eating. The best way to remove the hard outer shells is to soak the beans for about 10 hours or overnight in cool water. The shells swell up and wrinkle just a bit. Soaking also makes the shell sort of pliable. The shell will peel off easily. Some beans may be still be hard after soaking. If too many beans are hard, then you haven’t soaked them long enough. If it’s just a few beans that are still hard, just toss them.
You can also soak the beans then cook them shell and all. Once the beans are cool, you can peel away the shell. I did this once, and it was painful. The beans cooked rather quickly inside the shell, and I found myself making a fairly big mess. It was hard not to smash the bean while removing the shell.
Fava beans have a natural sweet flavor and tend to absorb flavors while cooking. To make stewed fava beans, start by soaking the beans for at least 10 hours or overnight. Drain the beans and remove shells. Rinse well. Once the fava beans are shelled, they are still quite hard but will cook in less than 30 minutes.
I saute about 3 or 4 large onions in extra virgin olive oil, then add minced garlic and a big healthy pinch or two of crushed red pepper . Once the onions are tender and almost translucent, add the beans and 2 cups of water. Cover, and simmer until beans are tender, about 20 minutes.
Season the beans with salt and pepper. Stewed fava beans are similar in texture and taste to large lima beans, except favas have a natural sweet flavor. I usually throw in a bay leave or two to give the beans a flavor boost. Bay leaves have a tea-like flavor that develops the longer a dish simmers. I use bay leaves in tomato sauce, soups, and stews. Pick the leaves out and toss them once the beans are done. A short note: you can also use fresh fava beans in this recipe. I find these in the produce section of Publix once or twice a year, but I think they’re just too expensive. I’ll stick with dried favas for now.
Stewed Fava Beans Recipe
- 1 pound of dried fava beans
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large onions sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 cups water
- ground pepper
In a large sauce pot, cover the fava beans with water until the water covers the beans by at least one inch. Soak beans overnight. Drain beans and shell.
Heat olive oil in large pot and saute the onion until almost golden. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute until garlic is tender but not browned.
Add water, beans, bay leaf, and salt. Cover and simmer over low heat until beans are tender, about 20 minutes. If cooked too long, the beans will be mushy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I shared this recipe at these awesome parties.
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