Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hey, hey good lookin'...

I must, sadly, admit that I did a poor job planning for today's meals.  Pitiful considering this is the first day of the year!  I had anticipated starting the year off to a bang by roasting a whole chicken for the first time.  Alas, we didn't make it to the store yesterday and when I tried to use Amazon Fresh there were no delivery slots until Monday morning.  Oops.

After putting Isa down for her nap, I started brainstorming what I could make for dinner from the random assortment of foods currently in our fridge and pantry.  Suddenly, my gaze fell on these (bonus points to anyone who knows what they are before scrolling down):


It's a can of fava beans.

Why do I have a can of fava beans in my pantry you ask?  Why, to make foul of course!  Doesn't everyone keep fava beans around for that?

Foul is an Ethiopian dish of mashed fava beans.  I first had it with friends at a delicious Ethiopian restaurant, here in Seattle, called Selam Cafe.  It was love at first taste.  Luckily, my handy Ethiopian cookbook includes a recipe for foul.  My previous attempt didn't taste as heavenly as the restaurant's version, but I am a mere ferenge afterall.  Still pretty delightful.

(from Recipes from Afar and Near: Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia)

1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp berbere
1 jalapeno, chopped, divided
1 15oz can fava beans, rinsed
1 tomato, chopped, divided
1/4 to 1/2cup water
Salt to taste
Feta cheese, for garnish
1 Tbsp spiced butter, melted

In a saucepan, saute half the onion in olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices and half the jalapeno and continue to saute. Add fava beans, half the tomato, and water and reduce the heat to a simmer. As the foul is cooking, mash it with a spoon until you get a nice, even consistency. Add salt and continue to cook for about 15 minutes; don't let the foul become thick and hard. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining chopped vegetables and the feta. Drizzle with the melted spiced butter and serve with warm French bread. 
(Notes- I omit the jalapeno and I didn't have feta or spiced butter on hand to use tonight.  Still very tasty.  Also, if you would prefer a less-chunky finished product or you have veggie-averse children you want to trick, you could put this in the food processor and blend it down to a texture similar to hummus.)

As the recipe states, foul is traditionally served with French bread. I used a basic Italian Bread recipe from my Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook (I have the 2006 edition) because it was the first one cookbook I picked up.  The King Arthur Flour website is also a great resource for baking recipes of all kinds; I expect I'll be trying a lot of those recipes this year.  If you have never made a yeast bread, then I highly recommend you try it at least once.  Kneading dough is very relaxing, sort of like a grown-up version of working with playdough but with the reward of delicious carb-y goodness at the end.  It's been a long time since I've made bread and I'm excited to start up again.

Unfortunately, either I didn't let my yeast sit long enough to activate fully or perhaps the spot on my stove where I put the dough for both risings wasn't warm enough because the dough didn't double and puff the way it should have.  Then again, even overly dense homebaked bread is pretty tasty.  Plus it was better for scooping up the foul and it means I have plenty of room for improvement in the baking department!

Dinner is served!


  1. Hey! I recognize that cookbook!

    Looks delish! I MUST come for dinner!

  2. I have found that when it's colder (like right now in AZ... go figure), I let my dough rise in the oven after I set it on the "warm" cycle for a little while. I turn it off right before I put the dough in. This keeps a fairly constant and warm temp. That has really helped. Now I just need to get a cloche.
    That looks really really tasty, although I am not sure if I'd be able to find berbere round these parts. Does it freeze?

  3. I made foul for a New Year's eve party. I did however buy the bread. It is fun following your new blog!
    ~ Heather