April 12th, 2011

Lemon Garlic Fava Beans & Mushrooms

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Serves 4
Total time: 30 minutes || Active time: 30 minutes

No matter what the stress of the day is, or what the stress of the world is, as long as I have a pot of beans simmering away on the stovetop, I have no worries.

This week I’ve got a pot of fava. The career of my beans tend to follow a similar trajectory; the first day they’re the star of the show, left whole and prominent. Tomorrow they’ll take a supporting role in maybe a hummus or a croquette. And then finally I’ll throw whatever is left over into a soup, stew or pasta as a minor player.

Fava is a bean’s bean – big, meaty, and toothsome. They’re epic, really. And so I like to use strong bold flavors when I cook with them. This dish is savory and saucy with lots of garlic, thyme and lemon. I left the mushrooms nice and big, too, so that they can go toe to toe with the fava beans. A sprinkle of breadcrumbs adds a nice toasty flavor and thickens the sauce for maximum delish-ness.

To play up the earthiness, I love to serve this with a wild rice blend (again, something I cook a big pot of and use throughout the week) and grilled tempeh. The tempeh is marinated in basically the same ingredients: lemon, olive oil, garlic and thyme (you can use this recipe as a guide if you like) and then grilled. A roasted veggie like cauliflower or broccoli is perfect here, too.

If you’re not quite a bean-soaker yet, you should know that it’s really easy! Soak overnight, rinse and add fresh new water, then simply simmer away until they are cooked through (1 to 3 hours depending on the beans.) So even though they may take some time, it takes minimal effort and you hardly have to pay them any mind. I flavor mine with a stick of kombu, but a bay leaf and a little salt works, too.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into thin half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced in half
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (plain or seasoned)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
Lots of fresh black pepper
3 cups cooked fava beans (or two 15 oz cans, rinsed and drained)

Optional: Slivered green onions for garnish

Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Saute onion in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly browned. Add garlic and thyme, and saute one minute. Add mushrooms and cook to release moisture, about 5 minutes.

Add bread crumbs, toss to coat everything and toast crumbs for 3 to 5 minutes. Add veg broth, black pepper, salt, lemon zest and juice and fava beans. Bring to a boil. Let reduce and thicken, 7 minutes or so. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve, topped with green onions.

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