The most common winter soup by far is the Greek Fasolada bean soup (Thracian). Fasolada is actually considered as the Greek national food!
What is the secret to making this Greek Fasolada bean Soup (Thracian)?
The secret to making this Greek Fasolada bean soup (Thracian) lies in soaking of the white beans. Start by washing the beans to remove any impurities and then submerge them into water in a large bow. The beans will soak the water overnight and will become soft.This will in turn allow for a quicker cooking time. If for any reason you are unable to soak them overnight, you can always soak them early in the morning and have them ready for lunch time. I would recommend at least 6 hours of soaking.
Always use packaged uncooked white beans and never pre-boiled canned beans!
Here is another little secret! If you have forgotten to soak the beans overnight, then you can still make this Greek Fasolada bean soup (Thracian) in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers have the magic ability to turn long cooking process to shorter ones. If you do wish to make this bean soup in a pressure cooker, then you would need to chop the carrots into larger chunks. As you will be adding all the ingredients at once, carrots will boil faster than the beans. Thus, the last thing you want is overboiled carrots. Boil the soup for approximately 50-60 minutes. Remove a paddle worth of beans from the pressure cooker and place them in a bowl. Mash them with the help of the paddle and add them back in the pressure cooker for another 5 minutes.
You may now ask what is the difference between the well known Greek Fasolada and this Thracian Fasolada?
The answer is very simple. In Thrace (Thraki or Thrace; Northern Greece) we love spices and thus we add paprika in almost all of our dishes. As you will see from the pictures, our Greek Fasolada bean soup (Thracian) is red. This lovely red colour is achieved through the addition of chopped tomatoes and red peppers.
Greek Fasolada bean soup (Thracian)
- 500g white butter beans
- 1.5L water
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 piquillo pepper ( sweet pointed red pepper)
- 1 celery sprig or 1 handful of leaf celery
- 200ml of plum tomato or 2 fresh tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 25mls / 4 tbsp or 1/8 cup of olive oil
- salt to season
- 1 tsp paprika
- Assemble the ingredients.
- Wash the beans under running water to remove any debris. Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl.The beans need to be fully submerged into the water. Soaking them will both render them soft but also allow them to boil faster.
- I would strongly advise soaking the beans overnight as otherwise the beans will take approximately double the time to boil. If you cannot soak the beans overnight, I suggest soaking them first thing in the morning and allow them to soak for at least 6 hours.
- Once the beans have been soaked, start by chopping finely the onions. Slice also the carrots and the celery.
- Remove the seeds from the red pepper. There is no need to slice the pepper as I add it as a whole.
- Pour 1.5L of water into a pot and add the soaked beans, onion, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, oil and the seasoning.
- Halfway through cooking, add the sliced carrots , red pepper and the celery.
- Bring the soup to boil for 1 hour and 20 minutes at least on medium heat.
- Make you sure you check the beans at regular intervalst. Bear in mind some beans make take longer to boil than others.
- When the beans are soft enough , remove one laddle worth of beans and place them in a bowl. With the use of the laddle, mash them. Add now, these mashed beans back to your pot. These mashed peas will thicken soup.
- Boil them for a further 5-10 minutes and your Fasolada bean soup is ready.
- Kali orexi! Enjoy