Baby, it is cold outside. Time for a homely and rustic Greek Navy Bean Soup (aka Fasolada). Fasolada is considered by the Greeks their national dish, and it was consumed by the ancient Greeks too during festivals in honor of God Apollo.
The taste of this Bean Soup is divine. That is because the beans and the tomato paste, the carrots, the onion, the garlic cloves, the celery, the rosemary and the bay leaves are slowly simmered in a Dutch oven into your fireplace.
The key to the success of this recipe is patience. Get the family gathered around your fireplace, talk with each other, share your thoughts, play a board game, pour yourself a glass of red wine and wait until the time is ripe to taste the most amazing bean soup of all.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes (8-12 hours for soaking the beans)
Cooking time: 2 hours (Dutch oven in your fireplace)
500gr white beans, medium size
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion (finely chopped)
4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 celery stalks
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
2 liters water
How to do it:
Allow the beans to soak for 8-12 hours (starting from the night before you cook them).
Place the beans in your Dutch oven and add water, so that the beans are fully covered.
Place the Dutch oven in your fireplace straight over some hot coals (not directly on the flames) or on a steel stand (that is if your Dutch oven doesn’t already have legs).
Slowly simmer the beans in water for about one hour. Check on the soup from time to time in case a little more water needs to be added. If you do add more water make sure it is boiling so that the boiling process is not interrupted.
Remember that if the temperature is very high the water will evaporate quickly and the beans will stick on the bottom of the pot.
In the meantime, add the olive oil in a sauce pan and when it gets hot sauté the onions, the carrots, the celery and the garlic cloves for 10-15 minutes (until they get soft).
After 1 hour add them to your Dutch oven among with the rest of the ingredients, salt and pepper (according to taste) and some hot water if needed. Remember that the beans should always be fully covered with water.
Mix well, cover the Dutch oven with the lid and simmer for about one hour (until the beans get soft).
Time to serve.
Pair your bean soup with kalamata olives, salted cured Skip Jack Tuna in Oil, marinated anchovies, pickled rock samphires, smoked herring fish, cherry tomatoes and whatever you like.