Green beans stew (Yakhnet loobieh)


2X gr bean stew

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.

green beans plantOur green beans in full glory in the Summer (Chouf Mountains)


  • 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.

dup mo'allem at work

A sixth-generation traditional Lebanese farmer hard at work. (Sadly, folks like him are a dying breed)…

dup lubieh

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  1. Posted January 26, 2014 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    A tasty meal! This combination is wonderful.



  2. Posted January 26, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    This has always been one of my favorite dishes. My grandmother always used lamb or pork for the meat. I tend to use lamb. Your rice is perfect…wish you would do a tutorial on how to make it. I can never get mine to come out so perfect! A wonderful dish that is perfect for the cold weather we are having. I will be picking up some beans today! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  3. humble_pie
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    oh my goodness! this is like christmas all over again! your photographs are exactly what i had been imagining, only so so so so so much better!

    you can see the flavour imparted by the pictures. That wall to the right of the beans, for instance, it’s not really a wall one would ever see in north America, right? it’s a mediterranean wall, right?

    and is that a laurel bush behind the beans, to the left? laurels might grow in california but are still fairly rare on this side of the pond.

    the cabbages look familiar, though, as does the farmer.

    i love seeing the connection between food & its setting. It’s such a treat to be able to glimpse the entire bio-environment that leads to a particular recipe, or to an ingredient in it.

    Joumama i didn’t mean for you to have to do this every time. I don’t know how many photographs you have on hand, so you might want to space them. But a few like these, now & then, add a whole new dimension. Suddenly we’re in 3-D!

    thank you so much.

  4. Joumana
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    @humble_pie: I have lots of these because they were taken in the Chouf Mountains, a place I consider my second home. The wall is called “jall” here; these walls were painstakingly built all over the mountains, one next to another, in order to allow farming. (otherwise the incline is too steep)
    Laurel bush get big too here and we’ve grown several, along with lime trees (leaves are excellent mild sedatives!), walnut and mulberries..

  5. Joumana
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    @Kathy: I forget that what i consider ” the usual stuff” may not be this way for all of us who did not grow up in Lebanon, eating this rice every day. I shall be doing a post on it. soon. thanks Kathy!

  6. Posted January 26, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    This green bean stew is a soulful and comforting meal. I would like served over rice.

    I think traditional gardening and small family farms are becoming dying profesion all over the world.


  7. Posted January 26, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Joumana, this is one my favorite summer dishes. Perfect for too many green beans and ripe tomatoes all at once from the garden. When it’s on the stove, the house is wafting a big welcome to any nose passing by.

  8. humble_pie
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    so interesting about the walled gardens on the mountainside … the warmth of the stone walls must have positive effect upon the plants, hastening their growth early in the season.

    up here in cold, frozen, snow-covered quebec – we are having a warm day today at zero degree centigrade – some micro-climates in the countryside are able to support vines with grapes for wine-making. Often, the best grapevines are growing in walled step-gardens on the southward-facing slopes of rolling mountains near the US border. Without the warmth provided by the stone walls, these vines could not survive.

    Joumama i take it – from your prepositions & adjective – “here” & “these walls” – that you are in the Chouf mountains right this moment?

    lovely recipe! but i’ll try it another time, because right now i’ve been totally smitten by another recipe that turned up in the random You Might Also Like links. Earl Grey Tea Cake! it sounds dazzling, i have so got to try this.

  9. providence
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    That sounds like a no-brainer indeed ! Guess I’ll give it a try, I have tons of contender beans in my freezer that are waiting to be eaten a way or another. The beans in the picture look kinda flat, are these Italian green beans ? And did you ever try this recipe with yellow beans, or does it have to be non-waxy beans anyway ? Sorry for all the questions, and bless you for such nice recipes (I lately tried your chocolate salami, I’m severely addicted) !

  10. Joumana
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    @providence: yes, these are flat green beans; you can use whatever you have on hand, just adjust the simmering time. thanks, glad you are enjoying the chocolate salami, just tried another recipe, will keep you posted!

  11. Posted January 28, 2014 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    We are expecting some really cold weather here in the next days, so this would be the perfect meal!

  12. Maria
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, just love this dish. I always worry about the stew meat turning hard, as it did the last two times I attempted to make this. But your version of this recipe has inspired me again. Just wondering with spices, when you say 1/2 spoon of allspice and cinnamon, do you mean 1/2 spoon of each or combined? Please advise.

    Thanks so much


  13. Joumana
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    @Maria: sorry I meant 1/2 teaspoon of each. Really, a matter of taste. You can also make it with ground meat instead of stew meat. I would use bones to make the stock richer and with great flavor. (Brown the bones, add water and simmer for 45 minutes, strain and use the stock to make the stew with ground meat)

  14. Maria
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    oh thank you so much Joumana, really appreciate it. I find it very difficult to find Allspice as I live in Sharjah and I didn’t find a supermarket that stock it yet. Do you think seven spices will be a good replacement?

  15. Joumana
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    @Maria: Definitely! besides I believe seven spices includes it usually.
    any brand will do! :)

  16. perla massoud
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    salut !! j’ai essaye votre recette et je la trouve geniale ! rien a rajouter =) au passage j’aimerai bien vous montrer quelques photos que j’ai trouve sur le web , si jamais vous savez ce que c’est . je vous remercie d’avance .
    voici les liens :

  17. perla massoud
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  18. Joumana
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    @perla: Merci! Oui je connais c’est une douceur qu’on appelle mafroukeh; elle a plusieurs variations, soit nature, soit aux amandes soit aux pistaches. j’ai publié une que j’ai faite aux pistaches, fourrée de ashta. le site en question est une chaine de pâtisseries très connue au Liban de la ville de Sidon; ils font d’excellentes choses traditionelles et Europeennes.

  19. perla massoud
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Ah je vous remercie d’avoir répondu si vite ! :) je vais essayer votre recette (première chose a faire ce weekend) et je vous donnerai des nouvelles .merci encore.bonne journee

  20. Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    What a great cold weather meal. I think I may make some this weekend when we get hit with yet another snow storm!

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