fava bean, we are not friends

now, i did not take a picture of the fava beans that i worked with, but they looked just like the picture above (which i stole). so, as i began to prepare the beans i thought, how boring, i’m cooking fava beans, whoopeeee. who would care about this? barely even me! BUT, the fava is not my friend. and here is why.

fava beans (dried) are pretty, shiny and say “you want to try me, don’t you” when you pass them in the bulk food isle at the grocery store (p.s. if you want to know more about bulk foods, go here!) never mind that i have never in my life cooked a fava bean, or to be honest, ANY OTHER!! i am just not that into beans! i know, i made a terrible vegetarian and a shotty vegan. but i had a dish at a potluck a while ago with (what i thought were) fava beans in it, and i LOVED it!! so, i promptly bought some.

F. Beans sat for a while on my ladder pantry, until yesterday. i consulted ‘How to Cook Everything’, our favorite cookbook in which we affectionately refer to as, The Bible, to determine how to prepare them. well, The Bible is full of shit people, the Bible let me down! (not the first time that has happened!) the Bible had a section that generally talked about how to cook beans. it said  precisely, that i did NOT have to soak the beans. so, i go about my merry way, not knowing a thing about fava beans, rinse them, pick through them, cover them with water in my dutch oven, bring them to a boil, then simmer for a while…then longer…then longer…!

why where these suckers so tough?! why did they taste like shit, to be frank?!

so i began to search the internet looking for tips, and while there was a lot of information on fresh favas, there was also confusing allusions to dried favas and pods and shells and skins and peeling…and I DONT KNOW!!! the Bible said that I would be fine! just keep cooking…but…

i missed a liiiiiitle note in the Bible that said,

“Always buy split, dried beans, which will cook faster and eliminate the need for skinning. Cook Time: If skinned, thirty minutes or less; if not, about one hour (skins should be removed before eating). “

um, what?! yeah, so guess what i was supposed to do. the fava is a rare creature in that it comes in 1) a pod and 2) it’s own individual jacket/skin/shell !!! you need to take that jacket OFF man, before you cook, and eat!

aarrrrgh!! so after cooking for the beans for an eternity, and (DUH!), them not getting soft, i turned off the heat and decided to toss the whole thing. i dug a little deeper today, on the hyperweb, to figure out what the heck i should have done, and this chef dude (i can’t find the website!) walked me through the process step by step. that is what i needed the whole time! chef man states that favas are rarely found on menus, or only on the menu at fine restaurants, because they are so time intensive to prepare; first remove fava bean from the pod, then remove fava bean from the shell.

so, that’s all i am going to say about how NOT to eat fava beans- when i get it right, you will be the first to know.

ps. my girlfriend put LIMA beans into her dish (which is below), and you can get the amazing lima beans sent to you here! Enjoy!

Yummy salad dish thing:

5 small beets roasted with olive oil, skins removed and then cut into wedges
1/2 cup quinoa (cook per directions, generously salted water)
3 cups warm lima beans
1/2 small sweet onion thinly sliced
1 avocado sliced

2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

i think i added in goat cheese too

(edible part on the right, on the left? not so  much.)


7 thoughts on “fava bean, we are not friends

  1. This was super hilarious and informative. I’ve never cooked them and now that I think about it, I’ve had fava beans ONCE in my entire eating out career. Now I know why!

  2. I just spent about 2 hours shelling fresh fava beans last night while watching TV. I am not a dried bean fan – but fresh I can do. I planted one fava bean plant in my garden just to see what they were like (have always wondered after hearing that line in Silence of the lambs). What I can tell you is that “green” fava beans – fresh, boiled for about 4 minutes and then tossed with butter are AMAZING! So i bought a bunch more at a farmers market and did the aforementioned peeling. This guys are brown – still fresh but color is totally different. I am going to try them in the salad above since ironically we also bought golden beets and some quinoa at the same time – but no recipe in mind. I was just googling for recipes to see how I could use these together and voila!

    • i am sloooowly venturing into the world of fresh favas. im still not convinced, but i will persevere!! thanks for viewing!

  3. Pingback: fava bean, are you still on my shit list? « life offers.

  4. I did the exact same thing! The dried favas in the bulk section at Whole Foods were calling my name. I am now doing the same internet search and finding the same information, but Lucky me I found your blog. Thanks for the laughs and the info!

    • oh yaaaaay! my dream has come true then! if i could save only one person from the fava bean tragedy, then i’ve been a success. hee hee. thanks for reading!

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