Dana Slatkin

Fava Bean Purée with Sautéed Greens

fava bean soup

Photo credit: csmonitor.com

Does it feel like someone turned up the speed on December? All of a sudden, my to-do list is twice as long, my inbox is overflowing, traffic is extra heavy and everyone seems edgy. We’re all ready for a vacation. But first, we have to get through the holidays.

I have a suggestion. Make soup…from scratch, of course. It’s comforting and nourishing. It keeps you warm. And it’s a delicious way to escape the chaos out there.

We made this rustic Puglian purée in the Farmgirl kitchen last week, for my final class of 2013. It starts with dried, peeled fava beans, the kind that are available year-round and don’t require an hour that you hardly have right now to peel them. Soak them overnight to give them a head start softening up. Then simply add them to sautéed onions and homemade vegetable broth (or store-bought, if you’re really pressed for time).

I use a cheat to give the soup its beautiful verdant hue: drop in a handful of fresh spinach or basil leaves just before taking the soup off the stove. A blitz in the blender and the soup goes from baby food beige to festive chartreuse in a snap.

The traditional Southern Italian garnish is a tangle of bitter chicory leaves, requiring the use of both spoon and fork (as pictured). But any leafy green will do — escarole, dandelion leaves, collards, kale and rapini (broccoli rabe) stand in beautifully. I chop them up before cooking them in olive oil, with plenty of garlic and a wicked pinch of pepperoncini (chile flakes).

It’s a perfect bowl of hearty simplicity, nature-made and sustaining for the last stretch of the year. Serve it for a crowd or just for one. Either way, a tasty respite from the holiday hubbub might be just what you need before venturing out into the wild.

Need some more soup comfort? Here are some more cozy soups for the holidays…

Finnbarr’s Curried Vegetable Soup

Wild Mushroom-Leek Soup

Dana’s 4-Pepper Tortilla Soup

Chaya’s Japanese Minestrone

Indian Spinach Soup with Fried Chickpeas

French Lentils with Balsamic Syrup

Pub-Style Cauliflower Cheddar-Beer Soup

Plum Tomato Soup with Baby Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Farmers Market Vegetable Soupe au Pistou

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