Let me just get the apology out of the way. I know that we eat with our eyes, and probably the last thing you would want to ever eat is something that looks like this – which, let’s face it – well, do I really need to tell you what it looks like? I’m putting this right up there with split pea soup as far as unappetizing photos go. I debated blogging this at all, but I realized that it’s a tasty recipe, especially timely during Lent, and well…I’m running low on blog backlogs anyway. :)
Now, onto the food. For some reason, when I did all my cooking magazine recycling, I couldn’t bare to get rid of my Saveurs. So, they moved with us to our new condo. But now, it turns out we’re going to need every teeny tiny cubic inch of space we can get our hands on to store baby-related items, so the Saveurs came out of hiding and had to be picked over. One great thing about going through old magazines is that it’s almost like reading totally new ones. I vaguely remember seeing a special section on the cuisine of Cyprus when I first read the magazine a couple years ago, but I would have never actually recalled it on my own. Rediscovering it was great, and this stew in particular caught my eye.
This stew is really easy to make with very few ingredients, but it tastes great. Bean stews like this are very popular in Greek cuisine in general, but especially during Lent. The only change I would make to the recipe next time is boiling the fava beans for a few minutes and then peeling them. This was my first time working with dried favas, and I just thought the texture of the final product would have been better without the skins. You can buy them without the skins, apparently, but when I bought these (a looong time ago) I obviously did not take that into consideration. Perhaps because of the skin issue or because my favas were a little old, I did have to add more broth to this recipe and also cook it a bit longer than the original recipe called for. So, just keep that in mind, as this recipe does already cook for quite a bit of time already.
I wished we had some feta around because I think it would be great crumbled over the top (and probably would have made for a better photo, too). Depending on how strict your diet is during Lent, I would recommend trying some feta on top if you make this. That said, it’s perfectly delicious on its own with some crusty bread to sop up the sauce. This is really, really filling. I definitely think 6 is on the closer end to the serving size. We had this with a salad and a little bread and were stuffed. I had plenty leftover to freeze.
Koukkia Kounnes (Fava Bean Stew with Garlic, Thyme, & Bay Leaves)
Adapted from Saveur
1 lb. dried fava beans (preferably peeled or peel them yourself)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling if desired
6-8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I ended up using more)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Place the dried fava beans in a bowl or pot, cover with water by 3″ and let soak for 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the beans and set aside.
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat, and add the oil. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and bay, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the drained fava beans and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender and broth has thickened, about 2.5 hours.
Season the stew with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into a bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top, if desired.