Do yourself some favas- Broad bean and smoky bacon soup

Spring is finally with us and seeing over-filled boxes of broad beans in the market made me want to rush home and make a fresh green soup.The marriage of beans and bacon has a long history, so I thought I would include smoky bacon in the equation.When I sieved the soup at the end of cooking I found I was left with a lot of tasty residue in my sieve.The consistency was similar to hummus and I thought it would be fun to add a little lemon juice,olive oil and mint and serve it up as a bright fresh tasting variation on that theme.A great sort of springtime hummus.Friends around the table can dip into and spread it on crostini as they lunch in the springtime sunshine around the garden table,while they wash it down with a chilled glass of Alvarinho wine.
The most frugal cooks choose only the best looking beans with an eye to making soup,not just from the beans but from the pods too.The Portuguese way of harvesting is to leave the pods on the plant to reach maturity, when the pods become quite hard and very shiny. This morning in the market there was a hive of activity as  a huddle of ladies mucked together to help our favourite  stall holder, Dona Isabel Domingues, pod the boxes of beans into bowls, ready to be bagged up for those cooks who have more generous purses and and dont want the task of freeing the beans from their pods.
 I love observing this fuss around the market stalls at this time of year when the broad beans are new in the market. I actually enjoy podding ,be it peas or favas, I even find the process quite therapeutic.

Broad bean(fava) and smoky bacon soup
Serves 6-8
1 large onion, diced
1 leek,washed and chopped
2 sticks of celery,peeled and chopped
50g butter
100g smoked bacon, finely diced (optional)
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
500g fresh or frozen peas
250g fresh broad beans,blanched and skinned
100ml double cream
Over a low heat,soften the onion,leek and celery in the butter for 5 minutes.Add the bacon,if using,and the herbs.Cook for 10 minutes,stirring occasionally.
Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil,then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.Skim off any residue that comes to the surface.Add the peas and the broad beans,bring the liquid to the boil,then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for five more minutes.
take the pan off the hob and purée the soup in a blender.Rinse the pan and pass the blended soup through a sieve back into the pan.Return to the hob and bring back to the boil.Immediately stir in the double cream.Remove from the heat,season and serve in warm bowls.            

Broad bean and coriander hummus

There has always been a strong affiliation in the Algarve between broad beans and coriander
With the residue I had left from sieving the soup I made a spring hummus.Putting the residue in a processor I added olive oil,a large handful of fresh coriander and lemon juice,seasoned with salt and pepper.I then blitzed it until I reached an almost smooth purée,but retaining a little of the coarse texture.


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