Winter bean soup "Fasolada" is a country staple of every Greek village. This nutritious and hearty soup is actually vegan, without the cheese and sausage "Loukaniko" bread. We Greeks like to serve Fasolada with some olives, sardines, octopus salad or smoked mackerel to make it more of a meal.
This recipe is courtesy of Argiro Barbarigou, Celebrity TV Chef, Restaurateur, Author.
For 4 Person(s)
Cooking the bean soup:
Place the beans in a pot of cold water that covers them. Let them cook for 35-40 minutes until they become semi-soft and then strain them.
Chop the vegetables.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil into a deep pot and add the onions, carrots and celery, stirring well until well covered by the oil.
Let them cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato purée, rubbing it into the bottom of the pot.
Add the half-cooked beans and cover with water (the level of the water should be approx. 1 inch over the ingredients). Cover the pot and simmer the soup for 30-35 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste and the chili pepper if you wish.
Finally add the remaining olive oil (it retains all of its vitamins when it’s not cooked) and simmer for just a few more minutes. The soup should have the consistency of a thick sauce. Serve piping hot with olives and taramasalata.
Preparing the cheese-bread:
To activate the yeast, crumble it in a bowl, sprinkle with a little sugar and add some water. Stir until it’s completely dissolved. Cover with cling film and let it sit for 10 minutes. When the surface froths, it is ready to add to the flour.
Place the flour, aniseed, activated yeast and water into the bowl of your mixer. Add the salt. Start kneading on low-speed, gradually adding the olive oil, until all the ingredients are mixed together. Finally add the walnuts, cheese and sausage (optional). When the dough has absorbed all the oil, remove it from the bowl and shape it into a loaf. Place it in a lightly oiled casserole dish and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Place the cover on the casserole dish and place on the lowest rack of the oven, baking for exactly 60 minutes at 50°C (check it at 50 minutes since ovens tend to differ in heat). When it has risen and is golden brown turn it onto a wire rack to cool.
For an extra crunchy core remove from the casserole at 40 minutes and bake on a rack for the final 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 80 minutes