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Turkish Beans with Pickled Tomatoes
3 hours 15 minutes active
This hearty white bean stew was inspired by the Turkish dish kuru fasulye, basically beans stewed in a spicy tomato sauce. We also borrowed a bit of flavor from the Middle Eastern pantry, using pomegranate molasses, a syrup of boiled pomegranate juice, to add a unique and fruity sweetness. You’ll find it in the grocer’s international section or near the honey, maple syrup and molasses. This dish calls for dried beans, which means an overnight soak for evenly cooked beans. The creamy texture of dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight, were best, but Great Northern beans worked well, too. The beans can be served as is or with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a spoonful of whole-milk yogurt. We also loved the bright contrast provided by pickled tomatoes. The beans can be made up to two days ahead. Reheat over low, adding water for your desired consistency.
pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
12- to 16-ounce lamb shank
01Heat the oven to 325ºF with a rack in the middle position. In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over high heat, combine 5 ½ cups water, the beans, shank, onion, butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, paprika and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
To answer Leigh B’s question: yes! I have made this recipe countless times, always without the meat. It is terrific as a vegetarian main dish. I also make it with pinto beans (I grow my own here in the Southwest) and they are so creamy and perfect in this recipe. I’ve made it in the Instant Pot several times and while it’s still good it lacks the absolute magic that comes from cooking it in the oven. When it is cooked in the oven following the recipe directions the insides of the beans become creamy and heavenly while the skin maintains an integrity and almost has a snap. The flavors also build and absorb better. In the summer, however, I make it in the Instant Pot so as to not heat up the house and it’s perfectly serviceable as a fast and easy dinner. So skip the meat any time you desire and you can be assured it will still be a fantastic dish.
We have enjoyed making this three times since the recipe was published. We cook a lot of dried beans in our home and this is among the favs of all time. We have made it with the dill and without. (Fresh dill is the one thing in this that is not a staple at our house.) In either choice, equally delicious. Be sure to make and add the pickled tomatoes at the end...they are "it" in finishing this dish along with the yogurt. This dish is "family meal" or "company's coming" worthy.