Stewed Fava Beans with Tahini

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: About 11/2 hours, largely unattended

Cooked beans and tahini always make a great combo, with real depth, richness, and incredible flavor. This mix can also be pured and served as a dip with toasted pita chips, like Hummus. Or add a little more liquid and serve this as a stew. Be sure to use a good, fruity olive oil. Vegan without the optional egg.

Other beans you can use: lima, gigantes, navy, or Great Northern.

8 ounces dried peeled and split fava beans, washed, picked over, and soaked if you like

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons tahini

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Chopped parsley for garnish Chopped Hard-Cooked Egg for garnish (optional)

Put the beans in a large pot with water to cover. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down so the beans bubble gently. Cover loosely. When the beans begin to soften, after about 30 minutes, add the onion, tahini, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very soft, about 1 hour; add water if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice, garnish with the parsley and egg, and serve.

Variations

Stewed Favas with Zaвatar. The sesame flavor remains but with a bit of thyme and the zing of sumac: Substitute zaвatar for the tahini.

Stewed Favas with Potatoes and Spiced Onions. A bulkier, heartier, and quite delicious dish: Add 1 or 2 cups cubed potatoes after the first 30 minutes, then proceed with the recipe. Meanwhile, cook a chopped onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic in olive oil until soft. Add a teaspoon each ground coriander and cumin and sprinkle with salt and cayenne to taste, stir well and cook for another minute. Top the stewed favas with the spiced onion and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Tomatoey Stewed Favas. Delete the tahini. Add a cup or so chopped fresh or canned tomato with the juices and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1 teaspoon dried.