When the CSA (community-supported agriculture) box contained 2 big bags of fava beans, I broke my once-a-year-only fava bean resolution.
Shelling and peeling can be so much work. Plus this year I’ve discovered fava bean greens—fava bean flavor without the work!
This late in the season, the beans were very large. Instead of popping whole out of their inner skins, most of them mushed out. Already halfway to a puree, these would become soup. G and I sat on the deck, alternately chatting and complaining, until the last bean was done and we had about 3 cups worth.
G sautéed garlic and onion in olive oil until very soft in a soup pot, while I fetched stock from the freezer and cleaned a big bag of spinach, another offering from the CSA box. We added 8 cups of chicken stock from the freezer and the beans to the pot, brought it all to a boil, and simmered a few minutes to meld the flavors. We let the soup cool a bit, and then I took out the blender and did what Melinda Randolph, the chef of 2223 Restaurant, taught me—I pureed the soup in batches with large handfuls of spinach and the zest of half a lemon. I poured each batch into a clean pot set in an ice-water bath and stirred well to preserve the bright green color. Then we added a cup or so of half and half and seasoned with salt and pepper.
At serving time, we reheated the soup over low heat and then garnished each portion with a dollop of sheep milk yogurt (thanks to our participation in Garden Variety Cheese’s Adopt-A-Ewe program), snipped fresh chives, and chive blossoms. Lacking the sheep milk yogurt, Greek-style yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche would also make great enrichements. The soup made a great celebration of the end of fava bean season and a wonderful opening to our dinner party that night.