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Spiced Fava Bean Pottage

Spiced pottage of Whole Fava Beans, a luxurious take on a medieval staple food.

This spiced pottage is a luxurious take on a medieval staple food, harking back to the time when fava beans were an almost daily ingredient in British diets as a year-round source of protein. Those that could afford imported spices would have used them to spice up the dish.

Our recipe was inspired by Ken Albala’s fabulous book Beans and went down very well when we served it to an esteemed visitor from Hokkaido – Ms Hasegawa, an expert on beans of the world.


  • 250g dried whole fava beans or 2 x 400g canned fava beans in water
  • 500ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1cm root ginger (chopped finely)
  • 3cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
  • 1 level dessert spoon honey
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • Parsley and/or rose petals (unsprayed!) to garnish


    1. If using dried beans, put them in to soak overnight. Rinse the soaked beans, bring to the boil and simmer for 60 minutes (or pressure cook for 45 minutes)
    2. If using canned beans, simply drain and rinse.
    3. Chop the onion finely and cook on a low heat until transparent. Add ginger, garlic, cloves and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beans, cook for a few minutes more then pour in the almond milk and stir in the saffron. When it’s simmering stir in the honey.
    4. Cook gently for 20 minutes, the pottage should reduce and the beans will begin to break up. Season with salt and mash the beans with a fork to create a paste – you might need to add a little water.
    5. Before serving stir in some chopped parsley or use as a garnish with rose petals.

Nick Saltmarsh
Nick Saltmarsh


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