Madfooneh means buried; here, green beans are buried in bulgurand chick peas; a rural dish from the region west of the Bekaa valley. The bulgur after cooking becomes silky soft and turns me into a glutton. I try to resist eating too much of this dish in one sitting. Eating it takes me to a small village in the Lebanese mountains where life is close to nature and devoid of technology and consumerism.
When I read articles on Lebanon byforeignjournalists I am always stunned! They miss the point! All they see is theglitter: How trendy the bars are, how women parade in bikini at the beaches, how fashionable and stylish people look, how amazing the restaurants are, etc. They fail to see that the memorable aspect of Lebanon is village life! A life that is going extinct! You will not find these dishes at restaurants, these are dishes that the villagers eat.
INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings
- 1/2 cup of olive oil (or more as needed)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 head of garlic, mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
- 1 pound of thin green beans
- 1 1/2 cups of coarse bulgur (#4)
- 1 can of cooked chickpeas
- 3 cups tomatoes, cut in dice
- cumin and cinnamon to taste (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)
- 1 red chili pepper (optional, not traditional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and fry till golden-brown.
- Blanch the green beans in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes until limp. Remove from the pot and reduce the water to about 2 cups.
- Mash the garlic with some salt in a mortar (cut the cloves in little pieces first, it makes it easier)
- Add the tomatoes to the onions and mix; add the spices and cover the pot and cook slowly for 30 minutes.
- Add the bulgur and the chick peas and the mashed garlic. Stir well to mix. Add the green beans water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and let the liquid reduce. Taste seasoning. The bulgur should be soft and silky. Add the green beans.
- Serve hot with some scallions or other fresh vegetables such as radishes.
Source for the recipe: Chef Ramzi, The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon.
NOTE: The recipe calls for cooking the green beans with the onions and tomatoes and garlic. I prefer to cook them separately.
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