Etli Kuru Fasulye – Lamb and Bean Stew
Brrr… it’s icy cold here in Wales at the moment, with sparkling frosts and bright clear skies. When we were deciding on this month’s recipe, we decided there was only one thing for it – a lovely, rich stew, Etli Kuru Fasulye, just perfect to warm the cockles of your heart in the run up to Christmas.
Almost everywhere has their own varieties of stew, and the Turkish cuisine is blessed with some particularly fine ones – hearty, tasty, and packed full of goodness.
Here’s one take on the theme, a stew or perhaps even a casserole, that you will find on the menu in many of the lokantas around Turkey – the traditional kitchens, that serve up cheap, cheerful, ready made dishes. You can twist this stew to your own particular predilection, swapping meats, switching beans, but this is a great introduction, and can form the basis of a wide array of Turkish winter warmers.
Ingredients (serves 4):
400 grams white beans
250 grams lamb or mutton chopped into small chunks (mutton is much tastier, if you can get it)
4 tablespoons butter
2 large onions
2/3 large fresh tomatoes, or a tin of chopped tomatoes, or 2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 litre lamb stock (why not make a virtue of this and have a great lamb roast the week before, and boil up the bones – there’s nothing to compare with home made stock)
1 sweet pepper (feel free to be creative with colours), cut into medium sized chunks
Salt to taste
1: Soak the beans overnight (minimum 12 hours), then rinse them well, drain and boil for about 30 minutes until they are just starting to become tender. Drain and put to one side.
2: Dice the onions, and cook in the butter until golden. Add the meat to the pan and brown it lightly. Allow any juices to evaporate. Add the peeled and chopped tomatoes, the chopped peppers, and approx 1-2 teaspoons of salt.
3: Cover and cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes.
4: Add the beans and the stock, cover and let the stew simmer until the beans are nice and tender.
If you are in a rush, and have particularly tender meat, you may get away with a slightly shorter cooking time. If you are in no rush at all, the cooking time at step 3 could with great results be extended to an overnighter in a crockpot whilst your beans are soaking.
Serve with Pilav (Turkish Rice)
Variations on Etli Kuru Fasulye:
Mix up the meats – swap the lamb for beef or chicken with the correspomding stock.
Use other beans: butter beans are nice, navy beans, or cannellini beans.
Bung the beans all together and go with chickpeas, which is an absolutely classic Turkish ingredient in these kinds of stews.
Dried beans must be soaked overnight. If you have less time or don’t want the fuss of preparing ahead, you can find canned beans that don’t need pre-soaking.