Fava bean recipes can be easy and delicious!
Fava beans or broad beans are one of the easiest beans to cook straight from the garden. They are versatile and tasty and full of nutrition. Their flavour is subtle yet strong and their texture is sublime - fatty without being cloying.
These easy fava bean recipes are just some of the ways we use fava beans at home. Every year I mean to grow more so that I can regularly freeze some and have them available for winter stews, where they impart a rich, warm texture.
We usually mange to freeze a bag or two - but never enough!
The easiest way to prepare them is to cook them in a little butter - or in a quality oil such as olive oil. If they are very young and tender you can even cook them whole in their pods.
Shell the beans and discard any with black or brown marks or holes - they will have been attacked by an insect pest.
Heat a little butter in a saucepan. Add the beans and turn them frequently to prevent burning. When they turn a rather strange greenish-grey they will be cooked and ready to eat. This will only take five or six minutes, depending upon the size of the beans.
Alternatively, you can cook them in a little salted water - just enough to cover them. After five minutes, refresh them in cold water - this stops them cooking further and ensures a better result.
If you are cooking really big old beans you will need to cook them for longer - maybe even ten or fifteen minutes. Check for tenderness with a fork.
You can also steam broad beans with other vegetables or by themselves.
You can now add them to any other dish at the end of cooking, just before serving. They are nice with a sprinkle of fresh sea salt.
Picture: Fava beans grow almost everywhere. These ones are growing in a field in Malta
This is the way we prepare fava beans for the freezer. This paste is incredibly versatile. You can use it in soups and stews or as a basis for a bean paté which is a bit like humus. It is the same idea really - you mush up the beans with oil and salt and some herb seasoning.
Here's how to make the paste.
Cook the beans by boiling in a little water, or by steaming them. Put the beans straight into a food processor and mush them up.
If you don't have a food processor you can use a mincer or even mash them with a potato masher.
Put them into freezer bags, extract as much air as possible and place them in a freezer compartment where they will store for a few months.
Some foodies like to take off the outer shell of the bean. While this is not especially hard, it's quite fiddly if you are doing lots. In my view, it's completely unnecessary, as the outer shell provides some fibre and plenty of taste and nutrition.
You can purchase such items here at Amazon as well as lots of other varieties, including plain dried fava beans and fava bean seeds for sowing at home.
This odd sounding dish is one of the easiest and quickest to make - and it is absolutely delicious. We usually use the canned beans for this as they are slightly different to the kind we grow here. You can find these beans labelled as foul mesdames in some Asian and middle eastern shops.
Foul mesdames are also known as "ful medames" and there are a variety of other spellings.
This is a simple Egyptian fava bean recipe which rivals the better known hummus for taste and simplicity.
Empty a can of brown fava beans into a saucepan.
Add a generous heaped teaspoonful of ground cumin powder - or a miserly dessertspoonful.
Add a good tablespoonful of good quality olive oil.
Warm the beans slowly, stirring the mixture without breaking up the beans.
Serve with salad and fresh bread or pitta and additional olive oil for dipping. A sprinkle of sea salt is good, as is fresh coriander for garnish.
You can also make this as a purée if you prefer. You can add some minced onions or garlic, too.
Other pages which may interest you:
Picture: Broad beans are quite easy to grow at home.