Tender cubes of beef or lamb and Lima (Butter) beans cooked in a mildly spiced tomato sauce and served with rice. Fasoulia, which means beans in arabic, is a well known dish to all Mediterranean countries. There is a wide variety of recipes out there for Fasoulia, using all kinds of different beans. The recipe I am sharing with you is from my husbands family in Lebanon, which we have modified slightly to make it even more tender and flavorful.
My youngest daughter always asks for this dish. She was always a picky eater and never had much of an appetite. Except when we have Fasoulia. Then she helps herself to seconds and even thirds!
Serve Fasoulia with steamed rice. In Lebanon, it is common to add vermichelli to the rice. To make vermicelli rice, simply add a tablespoon of butter or oil to a pot over medium high heat. When it melts, add 1/2 cup or a handful vermicelli to the pot and stir. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the vermicelli slightly changes color. Add uncooked rice and a little salt (1/4 - 1/2 tsp) and give it another stir. Cook for a minute or two than add twice is much the amount of water than the amount of rice you added. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Let boil heavily for about three minutes, then reduce the heat to low and let it cook until done (20-30 minutes).
We have made Fasoulia with many different kinds of beef, beef stew meat, steaks and filets. We have found that using Tenderloin Steak (Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand), Top Blade Steak (Flat Iron), Top Loin Steak (New York Strip, Kansas City Strip), or Porterhouse Steak made the most tender result. However, if you want to opt for the more economical cuts, Top Sirloin Steak is the most tender.
Here is how to prepare the Fasoulia:
1. Chop the onion and cut the meat into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.
2. In a large pot, add one tablespoon butter over medium heat and fry the chopped onion until golden.
3. Add the meat cubes and another 1/2 table spoon of butter to the casserole and fry on medium heat until brown on all sides.
4. Most likely you do not have any leftover fat or butter in the pan after the meat is browned, but if you do, drain it out of the pot either by using a colander or by holding a lid slightly ajar over the pot and holding it upside down over the sink.
5. Add water to the onion and meat, just enough so that the meat is covered. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat (it takes longer doing it on medium as if you were doing it higher, but it will help make the meat more tender). Boil for about 7 minutes.
6. Skim off (remove) any fat/oil that has floated to the top. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
7. Meanwhile, rinse the Lima (Butter) beans. I use a mesh colander for this.
8. Add the Lima (Butter) beans to the pot and bring to a boil, still over medium heat. While you wait for it to boil you can skim off more oil from the top. Once boiling, cook for another 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low (1.8 out of 10), cover and let simmer for 25-40 minutes (the longer, the more tender).
9. Add the tomato puree and spices and mix well to combine. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, on low for about 7 more minutes. Take off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste (1 to 2 tsp. depending on how much liquid).
Her is what you need:
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. lamb or beef cubed 1 - 1 1/2 inch size (meat should be room temperature, leave out for at least 20 min before cooking)
- 1 1/2 table spoons butter
- 3 to 4 (14 to 16 oz.) cans of Lima beans
- 3/4 of a 6 oz. can of tomato paste (6-7 tbsp.)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt to taste
Directions above. Serve with steamed rice.