Shelling, blanching, and re-shelling fava beans keeps lots (most?) people from cooking them very often. If you find yourself with a nice selection of young fava bean pods – slim and smooth and soft and green – you can actually cook them whole and eat the whole thing.
You don’t end up with the very prettiest dish you’ve ever seen, but it sure is tasty.
I learned this fact and this basic recipe from a clever lady who learned about them from a Turkish friend, if I have my history correct. Perhaps that means these are Turkish. I’d be happy to hear any further intelligence anyone has on the matter.
I don’t get to eat these as often as I’d like. My dashing husband will eat them, but he doesn’t relish them and tends to mention his lack of relish whenever I make them. That means there are usually plenty of leftovers and I get to eat them for breakfast. Now that I think about it, I should go ahead and make them more often.
Braised fava beans with dill
The yogurt on the side is optional but is so fabulous I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to add it. I find a whole milk yogurt works well, but sheep milk yogurt, if you can get your hands on it, is even better.
2 lbs. fava beans
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 – 4 spring onions or 1 sweet onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped dill
Whole milk yogurt or sheep milk yogurt to serve on the side
Snap the end of the fava bean pods and pull off the stringy bits that run down the side. If it breaks off, take a moment to dig it out – you’ll be glad you did when you don’t bite into a weird, out of context fibrous string in the middle of your luscious, delightful braised fava beans.
Chop the onions.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring a bit, until the onions start to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the fava pods. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with sugar and add 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, more or less undisturbed, until fava pods are fairly tender, about 20 minutes.
Add about 3/4 of the dill, stir to combine, return cover and cook until pods are completely tender, another 10 minutes.
Serve, hot, warm, or at room temperature with a dollop of yogurt on the side of each serving. Garnish with remaining dill.