Saturday, April 02, 2005

Favas Guisadas (Braised Fava Bean)

Braised fava beans stew is one of my favourite dishes. It is easy to make, redolent of the garlic, chorizo, and fresh coriander leaves that go into it and shock-full of flavour.

There are many recipes for favas guisadas. Some use the dark blood sausage as well as the chorizo, some do not use onion, only garlic, and some spoon the prepared stew into slices of bread. When I make this dish I can either use the blood sausage or not, depending on availability. This recipe does not use it. I served it with a slice of buttered sourdough bread, a simple salad of micro-greens and a glass of Mateus Rosé I had languishing in my fridge.

Fava beans are available in the fall and they are like giant green beans, with large, flat seeds inside. Fava bean season is not a long one and very often I use frozen fava beans, which I find quite acceptable in taste and texture. Use fresh fava beans early in the season when they are at their best and very tender. Good quality frozen beans are also tender. In the picture below you can see the ingredients used in this recipe.

Chouriço (shore-EE-so) is a Portuguese sausage made with pork. The meat is cut into chunks and marinated for about fifteen days in a marinade of red wine, lots of garlic, salt, pepper and sweet paprika, then stuffed into casings and smoked for about three months or until cured.
Toucinho, as you can see in the picture, is like bacon but prepared without the sugar.

Favas Guisadas

2 oz toucinho or bacon, cut into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 to 5 large cloves garlic finely sliced
750 grs of frozen fava beans (about 4 cups shelled beans)
About 4 to 5 inches of chouriço, thinly sliced
1/4 small bunch fresh coriander (I did not have, so I used parsley)
1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones

Put a dutch oven on the stove and switch on the element at a very low setting (mark 3). Cut the bacon into small cubes and drop it into the dutch over. The bacon fat will be rendered slowly. Once rendered, add the onion and the garlic. Continue cooking over gentle heat for about 15 minutes, until the onion is transparent and limp.

Add the frozen favas, two tablespoons of water, the sliced chouriço and the coriander or parsley, well washed. The herbs do not need to be chopped, but you can do it if you prefer. Add the bay leaf. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Cover the dutch over and let cook slowly. Every now and then shake the dutch oven to move stuff around but do not open, before at least 45 minutes have passed.

The stew is ready when the favas have lost their bright green colour and the skin is wrinkled. Stick you fork into one. It should be very tender. If you fell resistance the favas are not ready.

This dish can be done a little faster, by increasing the heat. You must add 1/4 cup water and you will need to use a wooden spoon to mix the stew and avoid it being scorched or have the favas stuck to the pan. The mixing with a spoon will result in the legumes being broken and some mashed at the end of the cooking time.

Update note on April 7, 2005: I just realized, by reading on cooking terms, that "guisado", something usually cooked slowly with little liquid added should be called "braised" instead of "stew". Stews usually have lots of liquid added to the peparation.


portuguesa nova said...

I loooove Portuguese food! It is literally the only ethnic cuisine that is available NOWHERE in Chicago. Even restaurants that claim to be Iberican are strictly Spanish.

Ana said...

Unfortunately that happens a lot. Many Spanish restaurants, even here, claim to serve Portuguese food but do it with a Spanish flavour slant. Here in Ottawa we have only three restaurants that serve real Portuguese food and only one of them is somewhat known among Canadians. The other two are known and frequented only by the Portuguese community. Sad!

Elvira said...

Tal e qual como na receita da minha avó!