Monday, November 14, 2011

Fasoolya Khadra (Beef and Green Bean Stew)

When I was growing up, one of my favorite mom-made meals was beef stew. I loved the tender chunks of beef, the rich tomato broth, the rough squares of potatoes, and the fact that the whole thing was spooned, steaming, over rice. It was the heartiest, most comforting dinner on her rotation and every time she served it, I would hungrily spoon up every single bite, always, always going for seconds.

I haven't managed to find a recipe quite like my mother's yet (which means I'll be spending some time over the holidays plying her for a cooking lesson), but it's not for lack of trying. I make just about every feasible beef stew recipe that I come across--and by feasible, I mean "easy for home cooks to make," as every stew recipe should be, in my opinion. Inevitably, I've found some very, very good ones. This version, from the Food52 Cookbook, comes from Jordan and is filled with exotic spices that will fill your kitchen with the most amazing smells. By the end of the stewing time, the beef is fork-tender, and the green beans practically melt in your mouth. And just like my mom's, it's served spooned over a bed of fluffy white rice. Perfect (for now). xo

Fasoolya Khadra (Beef and Green Bean Stew)
Adapted from The Food52 Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
1 lb stewing beef, cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb green beans
1 15-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
White rice, for serving

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, place in a skillet large enough to hold the beef in one layer, and add enough water to just cover the beef. Cover and simmer gently over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until the meat is no longer pink.

Remove the ends from the green beans. Cut them into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Remove 1 cup of the simmering liquid and reserve. Add the green beans to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.

Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears, then put them into a large bowl (with juice). Add the reserved beef broth and minced garlic and thoroughly combine. Add this mixture to the green beans and beef. Season generously with salt and pepper, then stir in the coriander and cumin. Cover and simmer gently until the meat is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Add more water if the pan gets dry--there should be half an inch of sauce at all times.) For the most delicious flavor, let the stew sit on the stove for a while after cooking and reheat later.


  1. my grandma makes this! We're Armenian, but my family lived in Jordan-- hence the reason I love this dish. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. My Trinidadian mother makes something exactly like this. Seeing this post brought back so many memories. Thanks for the recipe!

    My Fare Foodie