Fasolada: Psilaki Inspired

Fasolada is a wintertime staple here in Greece. It is a hearty white bean soup, almost always in a tomato base with carrots. Some time ago I was looking through a Greek cookbook called How to Roast a Lamb by a Greek American named Michael Psilakis. I appreciated how he stayed true to the heart of Greek flavours, yet he was refreshingly NOT bound by the tradition and form. I would recommend his book to anyone who wants to see how Greek food can be comforting and refined. Not an easy feat. Now to the task at hand. I was truly inspired by his Fasolada recipe. Here I found a bean soup without the tomato. True to MY style, I did not follow his recipe at all, but used it as a guideline. The recipe that follows is my creation inspired by the recipe on page 92 in his book.

What you need:

  • 500g of white cannellini beans (you can use navy beans,) soaked overnight
  • 1 sweet onion rough chopped
  • 2 green onions rough chopped
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 1 small celery root rough chopped (smaller than your fist)
  • 1 fennel bulb rough chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Chicken (or vegetable) stock (enough to cover the beans)
  • Olive oil (for frying and for drizzling on top to serve)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped dill
  • 100-200g of feta cheese (to your desired taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How it’s done:

  • In a medium sized stock pot, soften the onion, celery root, fennel, bay leaves, and roasted garlic in a little oil.
  • When the onion is translucent add the wine and deglaze, simmering until the wine has been evaporated.
  • Add the beans and green onions, adding enough stock to cover.
  • Simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beans have become really soft (adjust liquid if needed.)
  • Strain off the cooking liquid and reserve (discard the bay leaves.)
  • In a food processor puree half the beans, adding the reserved cooking liquid until you have reached a nice smooth mixture.
  • Add the puree back into the pot with the rest of the beans, adjusting the liquid to your desired thickness.
  • To serve add a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of fresh dill, a chunk feta, a generous drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
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