Fava beans with cream and thyme are unbelievably delicious if freshly picked; old and starchy like most vegetables they are dreadful.
They are also known as broad beans in much of the world.
This dish is perfect with roast pork and hot or cold as a side dish with lunch.
2 cups of freshly-podded broad beans
2 cloves of sliced garlic
A few sprigs of thyme
Tot of white wine
100ml fresh cream
Handful of chopped young spinach or kale leaves.
Optional: a cup of other legumes such as limas or peas, and a herb such as parsley or a slither of a hot pepper like a jalapeno.
2 TBSP of broken up feta cheese.
In a medium sized pot, gently fry the garlic and thyme in butter for a minute or two.
Add the wine and 2 TBSP of water, bring back to the boil and immediately add the young fava beans.
Simmer gently for 3 minutes and then add the cream and other optional ingredients.
Once the beans are tender, toss in the feta, and S&P to season to your taste.
Serve immediately with any meat dish; we like it with roast eisbein.
As a variation if you have young, fresh green pods you can simply slice them like you would a string bean; it is every bit as delicious and research shows there are even more of the nutrients than in the legume itself. Do not even think about trying this if they are old and starchy; perfectly horrid.
Fava beans with cream and thyme can provide enough L-dopa for most of those suffering from Parkinson's disease so they do not need medication2.
I have almost never seen fava beans at the green-grocer and, if I do, they are invariably old and starchy. This delicious dish is only for those who will grow them in their own vegetable gardens. It is not difficult, but they do need to be staked.
Favas are the richest source of vegetable protein1; about one quarter of the bean consists of amino acids and the rest is mainly complex carbohydrate which is very slowly digested. They have a low glycemic index, especially when cooked with extra fat such as cream and are definitely not fattening.
The satiety factor is huge; the slow release of glucose means you just do not become famished two hours later.
They do wonders for the colon where new research shows most of the dopamine in the body is produced; it is being called the second brain.
Young pods contain even more L-dopa than the bean. Slice a few of them whole in with your fava beans with cream and thyme.
Grow your own fava beans. In a moderate climate plant them in late summer so they can thrive through the cool winter; they will cope with light frost. In the frozen north it is best to plant them in early Spring.
Sprout the seeds first between sheets of damp newspaper before planting.
Thyme is such a rewarding and easy herb to grow; every home should have a pot located in full sun near the kitchen. Snip the sprigs off with scissors.
Firstly, research shows that there is definitely no advantage in changing from butter to margarine for your cholesterol profile.
And secondly, those eating foods such as fava beans and spinach, herbs such as thyme and garlic regularly, need have no fear of the cholesterol lurgy.
Provided we are getting a substantial proportion of our protein from legumes, and regularly enjoy those dishes known as functional foods that promote well-being and prevent disease we can enjoy our dairy without guilt.
Butter is back as the saying goes.
Of course we do recommend using olive oil instead of butter where possible, and it can be substituted in this fava beans and cream and thyme dish too.
Beans for breakfast may seem very odd in our Western culture where unhealthy refined cereals, and bacon and egg are the norm.
However, in many other cultures, dishes such as beyssara which is a favourite in Morocco, are very common.
The great advantage is the satiety factor they provide; legumes keep the wolf from the door at 11am when many Westerners are reaching for a candy bar, cola or cup of coffee.
Beyssara made with fresh fava beans is a cinch.
One could enjoy it with whole-grain toast, or even on the side with eggs Florentine, poached on a bed of spinach.
Nutritionally, the aim is to get away from those refined breakfast cereals, and to keep bacon for high and holy days; processed meat is not the best, even if traditional in an English breakfast.
1 cup of young green fava beans
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp cumin
Half a peppadew or jalapeno
S&P to taste
Gently fry the garlic, cumin and peppadew in tablespoon of olive oil or butter.
Toss in the fava beans and half a cup of water.
1/2 tsp salt.
Simmer and render using a potato masher.
Enjoy with real bread made with 100% wholemeal flour and butter.
What is cumin you may be asking; it is so much more tasty freshly-roasted and ground. The scent from the smoke is most divine.
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