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March 23, 2012

BEAN SOUP - FASSOLATHA



     In Greek: φασολάδα, say: fah-soh-LAH-thah

     Fassolatha has been around since ancient Greek times. and it is the national dish of Greece. It is usually cooked with tomato even though it tastes good without it, too. It is served with bread, feta cheese (except during Lent and periods of fasting), and black olives.
Some people accompany it with a few slices of raw onion!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of dried beans (Great Northern work well)
  • water
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • ground black pepper
  • 2/3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1-2 small hot red peppers to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion diced

Preparation:

Day 1: Soak the beans overnight in lukewarm water.

Day 2: Pour the olive oil in a pot and brown the sliced carrots,  celery, onion, and hot peppers (these can be omitted completely if preferred) for no more than a minute. Add ground pepper, tomato paste and the tomato sauce and water. Drain and rinse the beans, and place in the soup pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil.

When full boil resumes, reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 1 hour (maybe less or maybe more depending on the quality of the beans). The beans should be soft and creamy, but not to the point of disintegrating, and since the quality of beans and personal preference varies, check for doneness after  1/2 hour. Beans may need to be cooked 1 1/2 hours or more.
10 minutes before cooking time is up, add the salt.
Fassolatha bean soup is served warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4-6

Preparation tip:During the simmering time, you may need to add more water. Make sure to add boiling water, and not more than a half of a cup at a time. Fassolatha is not a puree type of thick soup, but should not be too watery.

Serving suggestions:
Serve fassolatha with a side of feta, bread, black olives, and salty dishes like anchovies, smoked herring, or others of your choice.


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2 comments:

  1. PS. About Fassolatha: Do not serve it to children! Most of them will not appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is not true, my friend. My kids happen to love it!

    ReplyDelete