Fava Bean and Spinach Pilaf with Fried Halloumi
Halloumi has a satisfying chewiness, especially when it’s seared in a pan just as you would chicken or another animal protein, which makes it a great choice for a meatless meal. A nutty vegetable-packed pilaf turns it into a full meal. If you can’t find fresh fava beans (or don’t want to go to the trouble to prep them), look for frozen, shelled fava beans at natural food markets and stores that carry Middle Eastern foods, then thaw them before adding them to the rice. Alternatively, you could also substitute the same amount of frozen shelled edamame.
- 2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) (about 1 1/4 cups/7 1/4 oz./230 g shelled beans) fava bean pods
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) slivered almonds
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 cups/6 oz./185 g)
- 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g) long-grain rice
- 3 cups (24 fl. oz./ 750 ml) vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups (8 oz./ 250 g) loosely packed chopped baby spinach
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) halloumi, sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slabs and patted dry
- 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Shell the fava beans, add them to the boiling water, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the beans and rinse them with cold water. Squeeze each bean free of its tough outer skin. Set aside.
In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until the butter and almonds are golden-brown and smell nutty, 1 1/2 minutes; scrape into a bowl and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until translucent, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 45 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the broth, dill, cinnamon, allspice and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently fold the favas and spinach into the rice. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, fry the halloumi slices until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.
Stir the parsley, almonds and lemon zest into the rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the cheese is quite salty on its own. Serve the rice with the halloumi on the side. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2014)