If all you know about fava beans is that Hannibal Lecter favored them with a nice Chianti, it’s time to get better acquainted. They’re an ancient member of the pea family and have a nutty taste and buttery texture all their own. They do take a bit of work — fava beans have to be shelled, and unless they’re extremely small, the individual beans will have an outer skin that needs to be removed as well — but they’re deliciously worth it.
Number of servings: 8, 260 calories per serving.
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds shelled fava beans
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 ribs celery, cut onto 1/2-inch dice
- 4 large carrot dice
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, 2 smashed, 1 reserved whole
- 4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over medium heat and set up a bowl of well-salted ice water.
- Add the shelled fava beans to the boiling water. Once the water has come back to a boil, cook the beans for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove them from the boiling water and immediately put them into the bowl of salted ice water.
- Once the beans have cooled completely, strain them from the ice water.
- Peel the tough, light green outer layer from the beans.
- Coat a large saucepan over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt, to taste, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook the veggies until they become translucent and are very aromatic.
- Add the smashed garlic cloves and the diced potato, stir to coat with the oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in 2/3 of the reserved fava beans and 4 cups stock.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.
- Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Taste the soup to check the seasoning and reseason, if needed.