Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Lubiyeh (Lebanese String Beans with Tomato and Olive Oil)
Green beans are called lubiyeh in Arabic, and are most often stewed with tomatoes like this. My mother in law was a fantastic cook, but she wasn't very forthcoming with the recipes, even when we moved a continent away. Once we lived so far, I was very happy that I spent so much time in the kitchen watching her cook because it really helped this Italian girl figure out some of my favorite Arabic dishes. But the biggest help was a kind woman I met in California, Marge Hanna, who was the best Arabic cook ever, and who graciously shared recipes and taught me how to make my husband's favorite foods, like warak enab, ful, kibbee snayieh, and lubieh. Thanks Marge! I still make your cauliflower mishat!
1 1/2 lbs green beans, cleaned
2 - 3 large onions, halved and then sliced
3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (flavor matters!)
16 oz can of diced tomatoes in tomato juice
approx 1/2 tsp salt
approx 1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp allspice or arabic spice blend
Saute the onion in olive oil on medium heat until softened and translucent. Add green beans, saute until they get a bit of color and onion turns golden. Add garlic, saute another minute, then add tomatoes, salt, black pepper and allspice. Cover tightly and simmer until the string beans are cooked to your liking, but definitely on the soft side, at least 12 or 15 minutes, or even more if you are Lebanese. I don't care for mushy veggies much, so I cooked them for about 15 minutes.
Notes: If you add a rinsed and drained can of chick peas and serve this over rice, you have a complete meal! Another delicious meal adds about a pound of cubed lamb or even beef to this - this is called Yakhnit Lubiyeh. First you brown the cubes of meat well in olive oil, then add the onions and continue as above, but cooking long enough to cook and tenderize the meat. Add the string beans when the meat is tender. Read my previous post at http://whatimcookingnow.blogspot.com/2006/03/arabic-cabbage-and-rice-pilaf.html where I described the arabic spice mix that I keep on hand.
This is my submission for Sweet Nick's 5 a Day found at www.sweetnicks.com. Go there and check out her blog - its great!
A note from my ff (first and favorite) goddaughter: Hi Denise, I just want to let you know that I made that green bean dish last night. I had it as a side dish for 3 inch thick stuffed pork chops. I added a few twists to the green bean dish. First I browned the chops in a big sautépan, so I used that oil. Then I added a little bit of chicken broth and red wine. Since I read that the Lebanese like the beans mushy, I knew I had canned beans in my pantry (...those are the only kind Jeff likes...) So, Iused the canned beans. It was delicious, Jeff and the kids loved it!Thanks!!! Love, Colleen