> Lemon and Strawberries: Greek bean soup (Fasolada)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Greek bean soup (Fasolada)


Lately it's pretty cold, even in Greece. Days like these I really enjoy food that warms you up! This bean soup (fasolada) is one of such dishes - hearty, spicy and perfect in the Winter. It's also pretty simple, just few ingredients, it doesn't need much attention and the only thing that takes time is soaking & cooking beans (unless you're using canned ones). Fasolada is one of my favourite Greek dishes - the taste is amazing, it's one of those comfort foods that we all need sometimes, especially in the cold, gloomy days!

  • 500g dry white beans
  • 1 big onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 carrots
  • handful parsley (optional)
  • 3 branches of celery
  • 500ml tomato paste
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • few allspice seeds
  • 5-15 black pepper seeds (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 3 tbs oregano
  • salt & extra pepper to taste
  • water - enough to cover vegetables
  • olive oil for frying
Start day before by soaking dry beans in a water for 12 hours. I just put them in a bowl with cold water before I go to sleep and they're ready to cook next morning.
Strain them, put in a big pot and pour water - enough to have about 5cm extra water above the beans. Add bay leaf, allspice and few pepper seeds. Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes or until beans are soft. Don't add any salt as it will make them hard!

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of vegetables. Preheat a pan with some olive oil. Chop the onions and fry them for about 5 minutes. Add sliced carrots and chopped celery. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Fry for another 5 minutes and add crushed garlic. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes - stir it once in a while to prevent burning. Set aside.

When your beans are cooked, strain them. Take out the bay leaf and the seeds. Put beans back in a pot. Add the rest of vegetables, sprinkle with salt & pepper and pour enough of water to cover them. Now add 2 bay leaves, more pepper seeds and allspice - I put them in a small package made from gauze and tie it up - this way it's easy to remove them after your soup is ready and you're not in a risk of biting the pepper later!
Add tomato paste, oregano, extra salt & pepper to taste and stir it well. Cook for about 30-45 minutes on medium heat, until carrots are soft.

Serve while hot, with some fresh bread. Fasolada also tastes great topped with crumbled feta cheese and few drops of raw olive oil. This bean soup gains more taste over time - the next day it's even better, so make sure you made a big pot of it!

Bon appetite!