Sometimes I see a recipe posted on a blog and immediately know that I want to cook and eat it. The simple looking stewed beans on the super Eating Asia was one such dish. Beans long cooked with tomato and pepper, sweet and rich with butter and lamb fat. A modest warmth from some dried chilli. Clearly this is an amazing combination of tastes.
So off to Turkish Food Centre I went. First problem is that TFC is so well stocked, so good a shop in fact, that they had three rather than the expected one type of dried white bean. I cast my mind back to the post and tried to remember the shape of them. Butter bean size? No, maybe too big, something a little smaller. In the end I went for dermason fasulye which looked about right. I left on the shelf butter beans, something called Argentinian bean and a few other things. I had a guess at what would go into a hearty rendition of the dish rather than digging out a recipe.
- fatty lamb on the bone
- two cups of dried white beans
- a couple of red peppers cut small
- a couple of onions cut small
- a head of garlic
- chilli flakes
- a can of tomatoes
Fry the onions in some butter for ten minutes with two big pinches of chilli (the mild, tasty Turkish kirmizi biber is well worth tracking down).
Add the lamb, dried beans and tomatoes, top up with water and boil for an hour and a half. Fatty and bony lamb is the best for giving the dish a good overall lamb flavour. I used scrag from the freezer left over from congee Mk. 2.
Add the peeled garlic cloves (keep them whole to save effort – they will dissolve in the liquid) and cook for another hour. Prod the meat and encourage the removal of any meat, whilst leaving the bones in the mix for flavour.
Add the chopped pepper. Assess the situation. Are the beans cooked? They should be creamy inside with a uniform give when bitten. There should be none of the sudden shifts in texture that pockets of under-cooked bean can bring. Cook until the pepper is soft and the beans are as desired. Is this dish gummy, oily and comforting? If it isn’t add some butter, olive oil or lamb tail fat.
Serve with rice, bulgar or Turkish bread, a fried or boiled egg if you want more protein and some pickles.
Do not cook this if you are in a rush. These modest little beans took an age to cook. I didn’t get the sauce quite as intense as I wished. I’m going to try again. Maybe I can get some rendered lamb tail fat from TFC. Their dried bean selection is a sight to behold – surely they can melt down a few tails in a back-room somewhere?
After googling the beans it seems they are white kidney beans. However in the finished dish they looked very much like baked beans - which are haricot. So I'm not sure.