I have adopted my friend’s Kerene expression “it is a no-brainer!”; well, this stew and all its cousins in the Lebanese kitchen, are a no-brainer. Grab 1/2 pound of stew meat, (a few bones as well if your butcher will part with them), a vegetable, fresh or frozen, and a pound of tomatoes fresh or canned. Italian tomatoes are popular here, the kind that come in a box already peeled and diced or juiced, since tomatoes are not in season. If you don’t eat meat, no problem! It will taste fine without it. (I would double up on the garlic!)
This type of stew is always served with rice, but any kind of starch will do.
- 1 pound stew meat (with a few bones if available)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 pound of green beans (frozen is fine)
- 1 pound tomatoes, diced or the equivalent canned or in a box
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- Seasoning: salt, to taste; a pinch of white or black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and cinnamon
1. In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, pour the oil and brown the meat and bones. Add 4 to 6 cups of tap water, a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and cover; simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bones and meat and strain the stock.
2. Pour 1/4 cup of oil in the pot, and fry the onions till softened and golden; add the green beans and fry as well for 5 minutes; add the tomatoes, seasoning, meat stock, meat and cover; bring to a simmer and let the stew bubble up for 30 minutes or so. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with a starch.
A sixth-generation traditional Lebanese farmer hard at work. (Sadly, folks like him are a dying breed)…