Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 10 Dec 2007

This past Saturday I was unpacking when I came across a pound of dried, shelled fava beans which I had purchased a while ago from Phipps Country Store and Farm. “Huh. Fava beans. I ought to use those. Wonder what recipes I have that use ’em…”

It turns out that most of my recipes call for freshly shelled favas (keep those in mind for the spring), but I did find one which used dried: Bisara, aka Tunisian Fava Bean Stew with Merguez Lamb Sausage. This recipe is in Beans: More than 200 Delicious, Wholesome Recipes from Around the World by Aliza Green, published in the US by Running Press

I almost posted the recipe here (it’s freakishly easy) but today erred on the side of copyright caution and abstained from said posting. So instead you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that this dish absolutely rocked my bean-eating world. And I don’t even

like lamb very much. I know very little about Tunisian food but after tasting this one I’m almost willing to bet that this qualifies as Tunisian comfort food. Some of the favas broke down and, combined with the sausage and tomatoes, formed this unctuous sauce (nape all the way, baby) which draped everything in orange-red tasty goodness. Despite the fact that it contained only three spices (caraway, coriander, cayenne) the flavor was incredibly complex. It was almost addictive, judging from my reaction to it. I had a bite and all I wanted was another spoonful of that warm, spicy concoction. The entire house is full of the gamey, heady, yummy odor of this meal. Yes, this is a good thing.

It took a while to cook completely (about 1.0 hrs; the favas were soaked, thankfully), but it was time entirely well-spent. It made rather a lot (six servings, at least). So now for the rest of the week I get to take a container of Bisara to work with me every day for lunch, microwave it and send that smell throughout the floor, making everyone else wish they were dining in my office.

Write me directly if you want the recipe. Dried favas can be ordered from the Phipps link above. Merguez sausage? Um…that one’s a little harder. However I’m positive that a little time spent with y0ur favorite search engine will turn up a site which will ship you some of these little links of lamby love. It’ll be worth it, honest.