Cretan Bean Soup with Orange Zest / Haniotiki Fasolada
There is nothing quite as comforting as Greek fasolada, one of the best-known, if humble, recipes that comes in many regional variations. To find the authentic Greek olive oil that gives this dish its velvety, sating texture, go to my online store here.
- 227 gr ½ lbs dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed
- 1 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 ½ cups red onion finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped celery with leaves or ¾ cup chopped wild celery sometimes called Chinese celery with leaves
- 1 large carrot chopped
- ¾ cup tomatoes peeled, seeded, and chopped (canned are fine)
- 1 large strip orange zest
- Salt to taste
Soak the navy beans for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in a pot with enough fresh water to cover them by 7.5cm (3 inches). Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and drain. Place the beans back in the pot with enough fresh water to cover them by 7.5cm (3 inches), bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, celery, and carrot, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, together with the tomatoes and another 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Simmer slowly until the beans are very tender and the soup is thick and creamy, 2 to 2 ½ hours, depending on the age and condition of the beans. About 20 minutes before removing from the heat, add the orange zest and season with salt. Just before removing from the heat, pour in the remaining olive oil.
* You can add sour trahana, called xinohondro in Crete, to this soup. Add ½ cup halfway through cooking.