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Fasoulia Blahem - Beans with Meat
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 22 February 2010 06:15

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Fasoulia b'lahem يخنة الفاصوليا مع اللحم or simply فاصوليا بلحم - Beans stew with meat normally served over rice. Fasoulia فاصوليا means beans and Lahem لحم means meat in Arabic. Fasoulia b'lahem literally means beans in meat (stew). Fasoulia b'lahem فاصوليا بلحم is a hearty and balanced meal very common in Lebanon and most of the surrounding Arab countries, particularly Syria and Palestine.

  • As main course, Serves
4
  • Preperation time
One hour preparation in addition to overnight to soak dry beans
  • Cooking time
Two hours

Ingredients:

  • Fasoulia/beans فاصوليا (varieties)
2 cups of dry beans
  • Meat لحم - Young veal shanks موزات عجل
1 pound, cubed
  • Baking Soda (optional)
1 Tablespoon for soaking beans
  • Whole Spices
Selection of whole spices
  • Tomato Paste
6 tablespoons (or to taste)
  • Salt
2 teaspoons or to taste
  • Black pepper بهار أسود
1 teaspoon
  • Arabic 7-spices سبع بهارات
1 teaspoon

Directions:

  1. Measure 2 cups of your selected dry beans; pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled beans, any dirt or foreign matter; rinse the beans thoroughly; put in deep bowl and pour boiling water over it to the top - allowing room for 4x expansion; soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
    • Optional - it helps to reduce cooking time, and supposedly gas, if you add 1 tablespoon of baking soda before you pour the boiling water. After 2 hours, rinse and re-add boiling water another time without the baking soda. GAS-FREE SOAK: place beans in a pot and add boiling water then boil for 2-3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight. By morning, 75-90% of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water.
  2. Choice of Beans - you can use a number of varieties including:
    • Pinto beans فاصوليا المنقطة
    • Romano beans or borlotti is an Italian bean that is a good alternative where Pinto is not available.
    • Red beans فاصوليا حمراء
    • White beans فاصوليا بيضاء
    • White flat beans فاصوليا عريضة بيضاء
    • You can also use canned beans - refer to Variations.
  3. When ready to start cooking, put the meat and water in a pot and boil uncovered on high heat until boiling; skim the froth/foam/scum زفرة from the top. If you are using any of the fattier choices or a meat that produced a lot of froth, you can par-boil or blanch the meat. Start as above; bring the meat to boil on high for just 1-2 minutes; drain the pot and throw that water away; rinse the meat and start with cold water again to re-boil before you continue with the same directions. This removes some of the fat, removes the scum and offensive flavors and odours in lieu of skimming the top of the water, and makes for a clearer broth during the main cooking step. Please note that par-boiling is not long enough to extract the flavour from the meat (unless cut very small or thin), nor should it toughen it.
  4. Choice of Meat - you can use various types and sources of stewing meat:
    • Young veal shanks موزات عجل are my favourite: remove the hard ligaments on the ends and cut each shank in the middle; you can keep the shanks whole if you want.
    • Beef shanks موزات بقر are also tasty: treat the same but cut in thirds
    • Lean veal or beef stew meat cubed - will take a bit longer to cook
    • Lean Lamb or Goat meat cubed. You can also use other types of meat - refer to Variations.
  5. At this point, add a combination of the following whole spices into the pot:
    • 2 Bay leavesورق غار
    • 2 Cinnamon sticks (medium) عيدان قرفة
    • 3 Cardamom حبوب الهيل
    • 5 Cloves كبش قرنفل
    • 5 Whole pepper kernel حبوب بهار
  6. If you are avert to biting into pieces of these spices when eating, put them in a spice infuser (similar to tea infuser) or cheese cloth and drop them in; you can then remove them before you add the beans and paste. A Note on Spices - whenever I am using red meat in water, I use the same spices above. I find that it provides for a fresher "healthier" smell and taste; you can opt out of any of these for taste considerations or availability limitations.
  7. Continue to cook covered on low to medium heat; check on your pot to make sure you don't get more froth or lose too much water; add boiling water as needed. 4. Once meat is relatively cooked, but not over-cooked, you can add the beans. Drain the soaked beans, rinse well and add to the meat. Add water if necessary; stir in, put back on medium-high until boiling again. Then cover and let it simmer on low heat checking and stirring occasionally.
  8. Continue cooking the beans until tender. Adding water occasionally if necessary. COOKING BEANS: When cooking beans, do not add salt or acidic ingredients - like vinegar, tomatoes, tomato paste or juice - as this will slow the cooking substantially and may produce unevenly cooked beans; add these ingredients when the beans are just tender. Cooking time varies with the type of beans used, the duration of soaking, whether you used baking soda and may also vary with their age and quality. Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly.
  9. Once the beans are tender, add the tomato paste, salt and ground spices (to taste) and continue to cook on low heat until the liquid is thickened from the tomato paste. This could take from 20 to 30 additional minutes. If there is too much water with the beans, cook at this stage uncovered, otherwise cook covered. Stir occasionally so the beans will not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Variations:

  1. BEANS:
    • You can use canned beans instead of dry beans: open can, rinse well, drain and add at step 6 after the tomato paste is thickened a bit; keep on low heat until they boil again.
    • If you are adventurous, you can use mixed beans.
  2. MEAT:
    • You can use other fattier meat for the same purpose – it all depends on your taste and health decisions; occasionally, we use these delicious options:
      • Fatty Lamb cubes
      • Ox tail
      • Stewing bones
  3. COOKING:
    • PRESSURE COOKING is one of the quickest ways to cook meat and beans, but I find that slow cooking produces better taste. Put the meat in the pressure cooker following the manufacturer's directions for cooked but not over-cooked meat; open and add beans; again follow pot directions for beans until both meat and beans are both cooked well.
    • You can cook the beans separately, discard the water then add to the meat, again at step 6 after the tomato paste has thickened a bit; keep on low heat until they boil again. This should further reduce the gas from the beans.
  4. SPICES:
    • I find that most people who do not like the taste of the Arabic “Seven Spices” بهارات سبع actually dislike one component of the mixed spices, normally cumin. So alternatively mix your own selecting what you like and keeping out what you don’t like or what is not available, from the following ground spices: allspice, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and paprika.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Serve in individual plates over rice; spoon cooked rice in deep plate, pour the Fasoulia on top and serve hot.
  2. Things to serve on the side: Lebanese/Arabic pita bread, olives, radishes, onions, green onions, pickles, etc.

Submitted by: Randa Fares - Feb 22 2010 00:59:28

Tip

For vegetarian Fasoulia watch video
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 04:35
 

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