SOPA DE HABAS : Dried Fava Bean Soup With Fresh Tomato And Garlic
This soup is a typically thrifty and sustaining Sopa de frijol (bean soup) with the added advantage of being meatless. The habas, or dried fava beans, fall apart into tender, skinless crumbs that soak up the other flavors. They have a distinctive taste, but you can also use bayo or pinto beans in this dish. Garnish the soup with your choice of rich, spicy toppings, such as a drizzle of flavorful Baja California olive oil or a sprinkle of spicy chorizo. Ladled over croutons, it becomes a thick, delicious sopa seca. Or just enjoy it unadorned to appreciate how flavorful a few simple ingredients can be.
SERVES 4 to 6
2 cups habas (dried fava beans)
8 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
6 whole Roma tomatoes (about 1½ pounds total)
2 serrano chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ cups diced white onion
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Diced white onions
Chopped fresh cilantro
Rinse and pick over the habas, discarding any that are dark. Place in a 4-quart slow cooker with 5 cups of the water, the salt, and 1 of the garlic cloves. Cook on low until the habas are falling apart, 4 to 6 hours. Discard the garlic.
Combine the tomatoes and serranos in a small saucepan with the remaining 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the water, and place the tomatoes and serranos in a blender.
Slice the remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and pale gold, about 5 minutes. Add to the blender with the tomatoes and puree until smooth. (For a smoother texture, you can press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, if you like.)
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the cooked habas and their liquid to the blender. Puree and return to the slow cooker. Add the tomato puree, cover, and reheat on low. Thin the soup as needed with some of the reserved tomato cooking liquid. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve as is, or topped with any of the suggested garnishes.