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Fava Bean Puree with Wild Chicory Recipe - Fave e Cicorie Selvatiche

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Fave e Cicoria, Fava Bean Puree and Wild Chicory

Fave e Cicoria, Fava Bean Puree and Wild Chicory

© Kyle Phillips, Licensed to About.Com
Pugliesi are fanatical lovers of greens, and if you visit Puglia during the winter months you can be almost certain of being offered Puré di Fave, pureed fava beans, usually with some sort of green and a drizzle of olive oil. Peasant food of the finest kind, which goes way, way back, some say to the Carthaginian.

Prep Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 14 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 pound (300 g) dried fava beans (also known as broad beans), soaked for 12 hours
  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 k) wild chicory (see below for variations)
  • Half a medium onion, finely sliced
  • A ripe tomato (a canned tomato will work in winter), seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil, some for cooking and some at table
  • Slices of toasted bread

Preparation:

Take a thick-bottomed pot large enough to contain the beans, add a quarter cup of olive oil, and sauté the onion and the garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato, cook for a few seconds more, and then add the beans and enough water to cover them by at least an inch.

Bring the pot to a boil and simmer the beans for 2 hours, skimming away the froth that rises to the surface occasionally. When the beans are done, stir them about with a wooden spoon to reduce them to a puree (you can, if you want, put them through a food mill or blend them, but the slightly uneven texture of the hand-blended pulse is quite nice).

While the beans are simmering, wash the chicory and put it in a large pot. Season lightly with salt and cook (the moisture that remained on the leaves after you rinsed them, coupled with the water the leaves give off, should be sufficient) until the ribs are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and keep warm.

Spoon the blended beans into a serving dish, and arrange the cooked chicory in a mound in the center. Serve with toasted bread, salt and pepper, olive oil, and a tasty rosato di Puglia. Rivera's Bombino Nero Castel Del Monte DOC is quite nice.

Variations:
Pugliesi are enthusiastic consumers of all kinds of greens, as is shown by the saying, Quando minti oiu e sale ogne erba se pote mangiare -- When you add oil and salt all greens are edible. If you do not have chicory, you could use:
  • Broccoli raab, cooked like the above chicory
  • Beet greens, cooked like the above chicory
  • Fresh spinach, wilted in the pot
  • Broccoli florets, boiled

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