There is nothing better than a warm plate of Albanian white bean soup (Grësh or Fasule) and toasty bread on cold snowy day. It is, as my parents like to say, the one food you can never get tired of. So far I have to agree with them. After I show you how to make it, I will give you some other ways you can eat the beans.
Albanian White Bean Soup (Grësh or Fasule)
- You will need a deep pan
- 1-2 cups of white beans (we prefer Cannellini Beans)
- One large white onion
- One large bell pepper (any color you choose)
- One large carrot
- Butter (somewhere between 1/4 cup to a cup depending on how much beans you make)
The vegetables are optional but this is how my mom makes it and trust me it will be delicious.
First, rinse the beans then put them in the pot with 3-4 cups of water. Let these come to a boil. While they are coming to a boil prep the veggies by cutting them up. You can leave them chunky or finely minces. Either way, the point is to get the essence of the vegetables in the bean broth.
Once the beans have started to boil drain the water. Another method that people use but is more time consuming is to let the beans soak in water overnight. This soaking process, whether by boiling or overnight resting in water, is very crucial. It will cut down the cooking process immensely.
Now put the beans back in the pot and about 3-4 cups of water again. Add all the vegetables as well but NOT salt! I repeat do not add the salt. Salting the beans before they are cooked greatly increases the cooking time. There are people who might not agree with this theory. But, I tend to stick to what I know plus I don’t want to waste a perfectly good batch of beans by salting them early on and finding out that everyone else is wrong.
Let the beans and vegetables come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 45 min to an hour. Add a little water if the stew gets too thick and the beans aren’t fully cooked.
Once the beans are cooked through add the salt. In a small skillet melt the butter till it turns slightly brown then pour on top of the beans and mix. This will be a little secret to making the beans amazing. After all, butter makes everything better!