As I've mentioned before, I'm Kurdish and one of the key dishes in any meal is the "stew" that is served. In a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, this stew is often served over rice and can be the main dish or as a side dish. Growing up, when my mom made a simple meal, it was basically a pot of stew and a pot of rice on the stove and that's what we ate almost every night. There's all kinds of stews, some with meat and veggies and some with just veggies but none of them is without flavor. Another great thing about these stews is that you can make a big pot and freeze small portions for later use. This recipe calls for lamb but you can make it with beef or chicken or if you're vegetarian, substitute the meat with potatoes.
Lamb & Green Bean Stew:
1 pound whole fresh or frozen green beans
1 pound lamb meat (you can use boneless cubed or on the bone, I use a combination of some boneless and some on the bone)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion (diced small)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Salt and pepper the lamb well and in a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and brown the lamb meat. Once the lamb is nice and browned, add the onion and then add the garlic.
After the onion and garlic are slightly golden, turn the heat down to medium and add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to the tomatoes and saute while stirring. Then add the cumin and cayenne pepper to the mixture and stir in the green beans.
Add 3-4 cups of water (enough so that the meat and green beans are covered) and mix well. Bring to a slight boil then turn down heat and simmer covered for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the meat is nice and tender and the stew has reduced and thickened. Taste the stew to make sure it has enough salt once it has reduced, if not, add more. If the stew is too salty, add a little water. Serve over rice for a delicious meal!
I like keeping the green beans whole in this recipe, though you can cut them up or use frozen cut green beans if you'd like. If you're using fresh green beans, make sure to snip off the stems first.
If you don't like lamb, please by some good quality lamb (free range or organic) and try this recipe. The lamb will be so tender and flavorful, you will fall in love!
Stir your stew a few times while it is simmering. Serving this stew over rice will give it that real Middle Eastern touch. If you don't like rice or are going low carb...the stew is still amazing served by itself in a bowl!