Fasolada/ White Bean Soup…
Many people are under the misconception that moussaka is the national dish of Greece, but no ! Instead this humble, comforting ,healthy and delicious soup hits home .
A sign of a good Fasolada is the consistency . It has to be slightly thick , what we call ‘hilomeni’ which is achieved by cooking the beans on low heat and not adding salt until the very end. This allows the beans to slowly become soft and thicken the soup, without getting mushy . It is served with a choice of sides , which makes for a brilliant spread . In colder months I serve it with boiled potatoes, cauliflower , broccoli and dark greens like chard, spinach etc. , dressed in good olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper . This time round I made a ‘politiki’ salad , the Greek version of coleslaw if you like , with cabbage, carrots, celery, toasted red peppers, fresh red chilli, some parsley , oil and red wine vinegar . And I always offer some feta cheese, olives or chillies and tinned or jarred anchovies . Your taste buds will be thanking you !!
To make the soup soak 500gr of white beans in water for 8-12 hours or overnight , drain and boil in new water in a pan . Once boiled , drain and throw away the water again. In the pan with the drained beans add 1 chopped onion ,celery ( the leaves ,not the stem), two sliced carrots and half a cup of olive oil. If you wish you can add a bit of pepper or dried chilli flakes at this stage, and sauté. Add enough water to cover the beans and let cook with the lid on , on low heat for around and hour or until the beans have softened . Add a tablespoon of tomato purée and some salt and pepper and let cook for another half hour , uncovered , to allow the soup to become thicker .