Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Recipe -- Turkish White Bean Stew

I had this simmering on the stove all day Sunday. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out with just the cayenne and lemon juice to flavor it. But I have to tell you, it's really good. I wasn't sure how hot I wanted it because cayenne is not my favorite kind of heat, so at first I just put in 1/4 tsp. instead of 1/2. But when I tasted it I couldn't feel any heat at all, so I went ahead and added the rest, which indeed turned out to be the perfect amount.

When it was finally finished, I ladeled out a serving and sat down to taste it. I was a little disappointed; it tasted ok, but nothing special. And considering it made a TON, I was thinking how hard I was going to have to work to finish it all.

And then I had my second bowl yesterday, at lunch. As with most stews, it tasted much better after the flavors had time to blend together. I could really taste the vegetables, and the lemon added it's own fresh zing in addition to enhancing the overall flavor. I used about 6 cloves of garlic (I always use lots more garlic in a recipe unless it's raw) and that added a lovely roasted undertone to the dish.

I got sidetracked just as I was getting ready to put it into containers (half to freeze, half to eat), so I forgot to put the parsley in at the end. Instead I chopped it up and I just add a little before each serving. To tell the truth, though, I can't tell that much difference with or without it.

I also used a whole 6-oz. can of tomato paste instead of the 6 Tbsps. I hate having those odd amounts of leftovers, so I decided to put it all into the soup instead of ending up throwing the rest away in a couple of days.

I think it's also misleading to call this a stew. It's definitely more of a soup.

Now if it would just get a little chillier so it would feel more like soup weather. It's over 60 degrees today, for criminy's sake.

Ah, well. Here's the recipe (Still haven't figured out how to hide the darned thing):

Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Soups and Stews

Turkish White Bean Stew
1 lb. dried white navy beans, soaked overnight
10 c. water
1/2 c. olive oil
4 med. onions, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 c. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped parsley

--from The Bean Book, by Roy F. Guste, Jr. (W. W. Norton, 2001)

In Dutch oven, combine beans with water. Bring to a boil, lower, simmer, cover, and cook one hour.

In saute pan, heat olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots until they begin to color. Add to beans, along with garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice, sugar, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt.

Continue simmering for another hour, covered, until very tender.

Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Text altered; content's the same.

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