Asparagus, pea, fava bean, and barley ragout

May 31, 2017 at 9:37 pm (101 cookbooks, Alma's faves, Beans, Grains, My brain, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Starches, unrated, Vegetable dishes) ()


I am embarrassed to admit that I have never cooked with fava beans. All that boiling and husking and peeling of individual beans … Seems like a lot of work. So I thought I’d start easy with basically ready-to-eat frozen, pre-shelled fava beans. But what to do with them? I found this recipe for a spring ragout on the 101 cookbooks blog, and it looked good, and toddler friendly. Alma likes asparagus and peas and pasta, so hopefully she’d like the dish. And she did. I decided to make it a second time, but then Alma got pasta at lunch at daycare, and I didn’t want to serve pasta twice in one day, so I subbed in barley instead. She loved it! 

I didn’t really measure anything, but below is a rough guess of what I did. The original recipe didn’t call for garlic or lemon juice, but I think they were essential.

Ingredients:

  • ~2.5 cups frozen fava beans
  • olive oil
  • about 2 tsp. of chopped garlic
  • salt & veggie bouillon powder
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, really tough parts discarded, medium tough parts cut into thin rounds, and softer parts cut into 3/4-inch segments
  • ~2.5 cups of cooked barley (total guess at the amount)
  • ~1 1/2 cups frozen green peas (total guess at the amount)
  • cream
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • parmesan cheese to serve with
  • purple basil, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  1. Bring about a quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Salt the water, then add the frozen fava beans and boil for about 8 minutes. Next add the asparagus and cook until the fava beans are no longer starchy and the asparagus is almost tender. I think it took another 4 minutes? Drain.
  2. In a large 12-inch stainless steel skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown, then add the fava beans, asparagus, barley, peas, and a large splash of cream. Cook briefly until the cream reduces and coats the veggies and barley, then add the zest and juice of one lemon.
  3. Serve with black pepper, parmesan cheese, and basil.

Notes:

I’m not sure how much cream I used. I think I used about 1/2 of a 200 gram container of Schlagsahne (30% fat whipping cream), but I only used the liquid part, not the solid cream that had risen to the top.)

Alma kept asking for more and more and more. Derek and I preferred the pasta version, but the barley version was good too, and a nice option if you’ve had pasta recently (which we usually have).

If you wanted to make this vegan, you could probably add a little non-dairy milk instead of the cream, and maybe some nutritional yeast?

If you already have the barley cooked, this would make a pretty quick weekday dinner. I think this dish might also make a nice (non-traditional) savory breakfast.

I’d like to make something similar once asparagus season is over, but I’m not sure what veggie to sub in for the asparagus. Maybe green beans and mushrooms? Any other ideas?

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