Food historians have found that combining legumes and a starch is one of the most ancient dishes to come out of the Middle-East in one form or another. Nutritionists have found that this combination is excellent for one’s health as each component works to facilitate the digestion of the other component.
I just had some cranberry beans laying around and this box of maftoul that had to be used up; this dish is popular in rural areas in Lebanon and is usually cooked with bulgur, lentils and beans (even wheat berries) all mixed together.
Any combination of a whole-grain and a legume will work.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 1 cup of cranberry beans
- 1 cup of maftoul or coarse bulgur (#3 or #4)
- 1 large onion
- olive oil, as needed
- 1/4 cup of red pepper paste or tomato paste (optional)
- Seasoning: 1 tsp of garlic paste, 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper, 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of black pepper
- 1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube or 3 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
- yogurt if desired (as a side)
- Heat 3 cups of water or vegetable or chicken stock in the pot; add the beans and simmer for about one hour or longer until tender.
- In a large skillet, heat some olive oil and add the onion and fry until the onion is golden-brown. Add the maftoul and let the grains get coated in oil for a minute or so. Transfer the onions and grains to the bean mixture, add the spices and red pepper paste if using and cover the pot; let the mixture cook gently for 30 minutes, checking it every so often, adding more water if needed.