Broad white bean stew with rice (Yakhnet fassoolia)

November 3, 2012  •  Category:


These giant white beans are now ripe for the picking and big bags of them are displayed in every little grocery in the mountain villages. They can be boiled for 30 minutes then frozen for use later on, they can be turned into a salad with herbs and a lemon dressing or made into a stew (which is the option we picked since it is beginning to feel a tad chilly these days).

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 1 pound of giant white beans (or any beans)
  • 1 pound of lamb or beef stew meat 
  • 1 pound of tomatoes, diced OR 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped and mashed with salt in a mortar till pasty
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed, drained and leaves chopped 
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  1. Boil the beans for 45 minute  in a large pot of salted water and drain. the beans should be cooked but still firm. Warm the oil in a large pot and drop the lamb stew meat to brown evenly on all sides; season with salt and pepper. Add 4 cups of water and gently simmer the meat for 40 minutes or till it is soft and tender; add the tomatoes and the beans and simmer the stew for another 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Towards the end of cooking, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet. Add the mashed garlic and chopped cilantro and stir for a few seconds (no more than 5 seconds). Transfer the cilantro pesto into the bean stew and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Serve with rice.
NOTE: I garnished the  stew with chives. 


16 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    That looks incredibly good! A fabulous dish.



  2. Devaki says:

    This is wonderful and just perfect for the season. I love wholesome comfort foods such as this and I must say the presentation, your photography and everything is just perfect. Hope you are well dear 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  3. Magda says:

    This is like the Greek dish fasolia gigantes (giant beans). Such similarities between our cuisines, Joumana. In Greece we prefer to add spicy pork sausages along with the beans. The lamb is excellent though!

  4. samir says:

    Ive been craving this dish lately..esp since it cooled a bit here in florida too, but waiting for it to get chilly as its such a warm, filling and comforting dish..your yahkne looks especially delicious..great recipe

  5. Familycook says:

    I have seen the white beans at the Persian grocery store but could never think of making anything with it. Your stew looks so delicious! I have bookmarked it and can’t wait to try it.

  6. Susan says:

    I love bean dishes and this sounds like a perfect and hearty dish for chilly weather. Those beans are huge!

    I love your new profile photo 🙂

  7. Oui, Chef says:

    I adore beans, but don’t think I’ve ever seen any this big….fabulous! Love your new profile photo!

  8. Mercotte says:

    bravo pour la vidéo des cookies libanais , tu es parfaite !

  9. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Those are some sizeable beans! Looks meaty and hearty.

  10. Erica says:

    Beautiful pictures!!!! The dish looks comforting….This is my kind of meal!

  11. mariam says:

    hi Joumana…I will me making this week..with white kidney beans/cannelinni. one question.why do you par cook the beans and drain the water?

    • Joumana says:

      @Mariam: I was told by a local chef here that it gets rid of the gas inherent to beans; however, feel free to cook them your way. The flavor quotient here is the cilantro and garlic sauce that you can add either at the end or in the middle of cooking. Hope you like it 🙂

  12. Maria says:

    Joumana, I just love your blog and you have the best recipes. I have a Lebanese cookbook called A Taste of Lebanon which has some simple nice recipes and she has a similar one to this, the first few times I made it was perfect and the last two times, the meat became too hard to eat. I don’t know if I made the mistake in the temperature whilst browning the meat or cooked it too long or too short. Can you advise how I can avoid this with your recipe please. Thank you so much for all your efforts and wonderful recipes.


    • Joumana says:

      @Maria: First of all, thanks so much for your praise! What I am gathering is that you are having a problem with the meat iteself; if you followed the same technique but got different results, I’d go back to the butcher and ask for his recommendation or change the type of meat. Did you use lamb or beef? anytime meat is tender, it is usually fattier. I’d also recommend switching to ground meat and adding lots of bones, previously roasted or browned, for flavor. The best method is to get the meat cooked first, then add the veggies and beans for 30 minutes.(the beans should be precooked, for about 40 minutes). I will go ahead and slightly change my directions.

  13. Nissreen says:

    Love this dish, a taste of home 🙂 Great presentation as well!
    I seem to have everything needed for this delicious recipe, except for cilantro…any suggestions?

    • Joumana says:

      @Nissreen: you can substitute dry mint powder; heat 1/4 cup olive oil, add 1 tablespoon mashed garlic and 1 tablespoon dry mint; stir a few seconds till it sizzles and add it to the pot of the beans at the end. you can also just add garlic sizzled with oil.

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