Food & dining

Seasonal Recipe

Recipe for B’ssara (Moroccan fava bean soup)

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 6

Popular in Northern Morocco, this dried fava bean soup can be garnished with a few fresh favas or just paprika and cumin. Dried, split fava beans are available at Middle Eastern markets and well-stocked international and specialty markets.

2tablespoons olive oil
4cups dried, split fava beans, soaked at least 4 hours and drained
4cloves garlic, peeled
1tablespoon ground cumin
Salt, to taste
4cups water
6pods fresh fava beans (optional)
1cup vegetable stock
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
½teaspoon paprika (for garnish)
½teaspoon ground cumin (for garnish)

1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the fava beans, garlic, cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

2. Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until the fava beans are almost broken down.


3. If using fresh favas, bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Remove the fresh fava beans from their pods and blanch for 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of cold water. Peel the beans, split them, and set aside.

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4. In a blender, working in batches, puree half the fava bean mixture with ½ cup of the stock. Tip the mixture into a clean pan. Work the remaining fava bean mixture with ¼ cup stock in the same way. Add the remaining stock, if you like, if the mixture seems too thick.

5. Reheat, stirring often, until the soup returns to a boil. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with olive oil, paprika, and cumin. Garnish with fresh favas, if using. Luke Pyenson. Adapted from Najat Ben Abdessalam