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Maccu (Dried Fava and Fennel with Polenta)

Serves 6


  • 1 pound dried fava beans
  • 3 quarts water or vegetable stock
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons sliced garlic
  • 1 small fresh chili, diced
  • 3 heads of fennel, medium dice (including the fronds)
  • 2 bunches greens (spinach and chard work nicely)
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Croutons (made from day-old bread)


  1. Soak the fava beans overnight (Or use a quick-soak method: Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil for one minute and let stand for an hour, then drain).
  2. If you are using unpeeled favas, peel them now.
  3. Toast garlic and chili until golden in a pot. Add onions, fennel seed, fennel, tomato, fava beans and water.
  4. Simmer until beans break apart and soup thickens.
  5. Add greens and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve soup with croutons and drizzle with olive oil. For a nice alternative to the croutons, use polenta that has been chilled, grilled and cut into cubes.

This soup comes from the Sicilian tradition of clearing out the pantry of dried legumes in expectation of a bountiful harvest. This is considered a “peasant dish”—it can be made with the addition of pasta or other legumes—almost any leftover provisions in the pantry may be added.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!