Green beans stew

January 26, 2014  •  Category:

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


25 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A tasty meal! This combination is wonderful.



  2. Kathy says:

    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!!

    • Joumana says:

      @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!

  3. humble_pie says:

    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.

    • Joumana says:

      @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..

  4. Velva says:

    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.


  5. Tom tall clover farm says:

    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.

  6. humble_pie says:

    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.

  7. providence says:

    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) !

    • Joumana says:

      @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!

  8. Nuts about food says:

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

  9. Maria says:

    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


    • Joumana says:

      @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)

  10. Maria says:

    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?

  11. perla massoud says:

    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 :

  12. perla massoud says:

    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

  13. Oui, Chef says:

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

  14. Sammy says:

    Hi I grew up eating this but I have never made it , ! Where do I add the garlic paste also I recall my aunt blanching the meat and throwing out the water and scum then rinsing meat and then beginning the stew, is this technique no longer used in Lebanon because of modern meat processing , she said it was to get rid of the zanah ?

  15. Sammy says:

    Thanx will do it that way !any info on blanching meat to get rid of scum like my aunt used to ?

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