So, one day my Moroccan man informed me that he had a craving for Bissara. I think it was after a conversation with his brother. They are always sending each other photos of the foods they are eating. Considering his brother lives with their parents, this means my man was always getting photos of the traditional foods his Mom prepares. This of course, leads to him having cravings for his favorite foods, and me scrambling to figure out just exactly he was craving.
After scouring the internet trying to figure out what Bissara was, I found that its a lovely fava bean soup. It can be made with meat but, I came up with my own vegetarian version. Many of the recipes I found ranged from very simple to very complex. Based on logistics and what I have readily available to me I had to concoct my own personal recipe.
I knew that traditionally this soup is creamy but, some left it more chunky and mashed the beans with a spoon. This was the method I used. Although, I am on the lookout for a Mirro 50024 Foley Stainless Steel Healthy Food Mill Cookware, 2-Quart, Silver which is basically a manual food processor. I was making the soup as a surprise because I knew it wasn’t going to be 100% traditional. All I knew was that I had to nail the flavors in order to compete with Mom’s traditional recipe and satisfy my Moroccan mans craving.
After studying the recipes I found and coming up with my own version, I carefully and methodically stared to prepare my Bissara. When he came home from work that day, he asked what was for dinner. When I said Bissara, he was pleasantly surprised but, I could see in his face he was hesitant. I prepared the rest of the dinner and it was time for the official Bissara tasting. I’m proud to say that my recipe passed with flying colors. He said that the flavors were perfect!
Below you will find my version of vegetarian Bissara. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I did making it. Soup is good food!!
2 cups dried Fava Beans (soaked overnight)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium or large carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
1 small potato (about 4 ounces), peeled and diced
2 quarts water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
Salt to taste
A few bay leaves
A bunch of cilantro cleaned and chopped
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon tumeric
juice of 1 lemon
sprinkle of cayenne (optional)
How to make it:
Soak beans overnight in lightly salted water then drain.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup soup pot. Add the, onion, bay leaves, carrots and turnips. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes, and add the potatoes, soaked fava beans, water or stock, salt.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
I don’t have a food processor or blender so, I skip this step and my soup is chunky. I just mashed some beans with the back of a spoon. If you have a food processor and want a creamy soup, move on to step 3. If not skip to step 4.
3. Purée the soup using a hand blender or a food processor, working in small batches if using in a blender, making sure that you avoid hot splashes. Return to the pot.
4. Add the pepper, turmeric, cumin and chopped cilantro and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
5. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve a sprinkle of cayenne, garnished with cilantro leaves and with a drizzle of olive oil over each serving… and of course some crusty bread.