Since the heavy rain that cause the floods in Fethiye a few days ago, a dusting of snow has made itself at home along the summits of the Akdağlar mountain range - and Fethiye itself is under a bit of a cold front. That's not a complaint; far from it in fact, because, all this week, the days are forecast to be bright, clear and sunny. It's just that we need to wrap up warm and get cosy once the sun begins to set.
So our winter 'slow mode' has kicked in - that mode where food in the fridge is the stuff for recipes and invention rather than the stuff that's there to grab and snatch as and when you can as you dash from one place to the next. It's the time of year for comfort food and this week, we made a Turkish favourite, etli kuru fasulye (white bean stew with meat).
Etli kuru fasulyeA (Quick) Turkish Recipe For Etli Kuru Fasulye
Kuru fasulye means 'dried beans' and this recipe is traditionally made with dried beans. Meat is also not an essential ingredient, so, if you're vegetarian, just skip the meat stage. The vegetarian version is just as tasty. For us, though, we made this batch of white bean stew on a whim. No time to soak dried beans overnight. We wanted our meal now, so we used tinned beans.
Rinse your beans to get rid of the brine flavours
If you're in Turkey, you're looking for tinned beans that read Haşlanmış Kuru Fasulye (pre cooked dried beans). They're usually in a large 800 gram tin with the actual beans weighing 400 grams. Elsewhere, you need to look for tins of haricot beans. These are one of the most common beans so they're easy to get your hands on.
This recipe serves 4 people easily - if there's only two of you, like us, never fear because kuru fasulye is just as tasty warmed up the day after.
- Empty your 800g tin of beans into a colander, give them a good rinse and set them to one side to drain. (You'll have around 400g of beans.)
- Finely chop a large onion and a couple of green peppers (we use the sivri biber - the long thin ones you see on the markets). Use one green bell pepper if you can't get sivri.
- Add a glug of olive oil to a deep pan and sweat the onions and peppers on a medium heat for a few minutes until they start to soften.
- If you want to make etli kuru fasulye (the traditional meat to use is lamb, but beef or chicken is fine), after you have added your onion and pepper, chop your raw meat into small cubes (about 0.5 cm) and add it to the pan. Saute for 15 minutes.
- Finely chop a medium sized tomato and add that to your peppers and onions. Stir for a few minutes until the tomato has softened and broken up.
- Now add a generous dessert spoonful of salça (tomato paste), a generous sprinkling of chilli flakes (chilli flakes are optional) and salt and pepper to season.
- Pour in 2 coffee mugfuls of hot water (or meat stock), bring to the boil and then cover and simmer on a low heat for around 15-20 minutes until your stew is starting to thicken and all the flavours have infused.
- Now add the beans and simmer for a further ten minutes.
Quick etli kuru fasulye
Etli Kuru Fasulye - Afternotes:
- If you are in Turkey, you can make this recipe even quicker. There are small packs of 'kavurma' that you can buy. (Kavurma means 'braised.'). It's a rectangular block of braised beef and you can get it from the deli section of shops and supermarkets. Instead of using raw meat near the beginning of the recipe, cut about one third of the block into small cubes and add it about 5 minutes before you add your beans. You get flavours from the meat to make a stock and the kavurma tastes great. We know...because that's what we did on this occasion.
- Kuru fasulye is served in most lokantas if you don't fancy making your own.
- The lokantas opposite Süleymaniye Camii in Istanbul are famous for their kuru fasulye.
- If you like the look of this recipe, you could also give our Turkish recipe for lamb stew with chickpeas a go, too.