Another soup from the deli days.
It was awesome in summer because the vegetables and herbs could be local and fresh, but also pretty tasty in the winter when you needed a substantial bowl of chow. Fassolada is a Greek stew (sometimes called their national soup) made with white beans, tomatoes and other veggies. I added feta cheese and tweaked it here and there…hearty and scrumptious.
My friend, musician, and market producer Hannah Breckbill gave me some heirloom beans that she grew last year, so for this version I used her beans instead of the white beans I normally would use. They are still very creamy with a mild flavor and fit as a white bean substitute.
Here are some incredible Tiger’s Eye beans she also grew.
This is my quick-stock method of sautéing the aromatic holy trinity mirepoix of onion, carrots and celery, then letting them simmer for a short time. Instead of removing the stock veggies I just leave them in for good measure.
Why saute first? It gives the vegetables a more mellow and sweet flavor. It has to do with their ruptured cells combining with heat to create new compounds as they sweat in the concentrated heated fat. Or we could just say there is something magical that happens when you sauté aromatics in delicious fats.
Fresh or dried herbs can be used, these are the realities of living in an area with a long winter. Dried herbs (as long as they haven’t been sitting in your cupboard for decades) are more concentrated so use about half the amount you would use of fresh. OR right now you could be making pestos and pastes from your fresh herbs and freezing them for winter use. Right now! Here’s a link to some ideas for preserving your herbs.
Kalí óreksi! Καλή όρεξη!
Fassolada (Greek White Bean Stew)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: a few hours for the beans, 30 minutes for the soup
If you are cooking the beans, soak at least 4 hours:
1 1/2 cups Navy Beans
4 cups Water
Drain and replace the water. Cook until beans are soft.
Heat a soup pot with:
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Add and sauté:
1-2 Carrots (1 cup), diced
3-4 stalks Celery (1 cup), diced
1 medium Red Onion, diced
2 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon Sea or Real Salt
1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Rosemary
Black Pepper to taste
When the onions become translucent, add:
2 1/2 cups Water
Simmer for 15 minutes.
3 cups Navy or Cannelini Beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups Tomatoes, diced
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped, or 1 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/4 cup Fresh Basil, chopped, or 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 cup (or more) Feta Cheese, crumbled
More water if needed
Heat to serve (but don’t overcook).
Taste and adjust.
Bowl by Timothy Langholz