This soup can be thick as porridge or almost bisque-like.
- 1 pound dried fava beans
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 4 tablespoons paprika (Use the best paprika you can find; Pimenton–a Spanish smoked paprika–is best.) As an alternative or in addition to paprika, use cayenne and/or harissa* to taste)
- 2 quarts water or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons salt (to finish)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
*Harissa is a Middle Eastern condiment that can be found in ethnic food sections of better stores. It will impart a more complex flavor than cayenne alone.
- Soak beans in cold water for several hours, drain, rinse.
- Toast cumin seeds in a hot skillet until fragrant. Allow to cool, then grind in a coffee mill. (If a grinder is not available, leave the seeds whole but see note in step 6.)
- Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a pot, saute garlic until light brown and nutty smelling, add cumin, 2 tablespoons of the paprika, harissa or cayenne, mix well and heat the mixture further to combine flavors.
- When fragrant, add the beans, then add water or chicken stock to cover.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer slowly for 1 hour or until beans are very tender (add liquid as needed to keep beans submerged).
- When beans are very tender, remove the liquid mixture from heat and pur?e in blender.) This soup can be made as thick as porridge or lighter, almost like a bisque–adjust the amount of liquid to suit your preference. Note: If you did not grind the cumin seeds in a coffee mill in step 2, pour the puréed mixture through a strainer now to remove them.
- Adjust seasoning for salt and desired heat by adding cayenne or harissa.
- Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over low heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons paprika. Stir well and heat. Allow the mixture to rest to infuse the flavors; stir again just before serving.
- Ladle soup into a bowl and drizzle paprika oil on top.