Feel like eating something flavorful and satisfying, but not heavy? Stewed haricot beans answer your hunger – and they’re easy to make.
A hearty vegetarian stew, aromatic with herbs and spices (see our series on Middle Eastern spices). Great with rice or fresh pita and a simple protein like cheese or an omelet on the side. Or for a real feast, serve them next to our lemon-scented couscous.
Raise or lower the cayenne heat at will, but make sure to include those herbs so well-loved in the Middle East – garlic, sage, and rosemary.
Vegetarian Haricot Bean Stew
1 lb. – 500 grams dried haricot (navy) beans
water to cover and then some more, for soaking
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato
2 more tablespoons olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne flakes, to taste
4 large sage leaves
1 sprig of rosemary about 3″ long
freshly-ground black pepper
a small handful of chives, finely chopped
Soak the beans in plenty of water, overnight or at least 5 hours.
Drain them and put them in a pot. Cover with water and add a splash of olive oil, the bay leaf, and an unpeeled garlic clove.
Bring to a boil, lower the flame, and simmer, covered – for 1 1/2 hours. The beans should be tender before you add the seasonings.
In a separate pan, sauté the onions in olive oil till soft. Add the tomato and garlic. Stir to mix the vegetables up.
Add the sage, rosemary, cayenne, black pepper, and salt to taste. Stir everything up and cook 5 minutes over a low flame.
Pour the vegetable/herb mixture into the bean pot. Stir, noting if the beans have enough liquid. If it looks like they’re getting dry, add water, a little at a time. Cook the beans and seasoning 1/2 hour, stirring once in a while.
The beans are now ready. Sprinkle some chopped chives into the pan before serving.
More vegetarian foods from the Middle East on Green Prophet:
Photo of haricot bean stew by Miriam Kresh