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Hilda's Favas

  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings


  • 2 pounds dried fava beans
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves, torn into quarters
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste


  • In a large heavy saucepan bring 3 quarts water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the favas and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Cover and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water until cool enough to handle.
  • To peel the beans, gently pull open the dark end of the skin of each bean with the tip of a small sharp knife or with your fingernail, and peel back the skin. Discard the skins. Put thepeeled beans in a bowl.
  • In a heavy large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and heat for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, untilsoftened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and 7 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
  • Add the fava beans and continue simmering until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Serve immediately, or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.