Saturday, 13 November 2010

Tender Green Beans with Meat


my favourite

I really love this meal: Etli Ayşekadın Fasulye in Turkish.  Etli means 'with meat': since this time I used mince, this is actually Kıymalı Fasulye. Not only does it look and taste delicious, but it’s very healthy as there is no oil in it.  To achieve this taste, fresh beans are streets ahead of frozen. This time I used one of the jars of tomatoes that I bottled in the heart of summer using those fat, juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes from the local tarla/fields around Assos. I’m really pleased that I did all that bottling: next summer I think I’ll make twice as many jars as it is just so much more satisfying to use your own and recall those long, lazy summer days, rather than a couple of sterile greenhouse tomatoes which are the only alternative right now. They may look firm and beautiful but they have no flavour worth mentioning.
ayşekadın fasulye

çalı fasulye
Here, there are two distinct types of green bean/fasulye: one is ayşekadın, the type used in this recipe. To prepare it, after trimming, it is simply snapped or cut in half. It is cooked with meat or sometimes egg, and served hot as a main meal. The other, çalı or string, looks completely different as it is much longer, and flat in shape. This one is cut in half lengthwise and is used for zeytinyağlı dishes ie  served cold.  If it is really long, it is also cut in half the other way. I have to confess I have never bought these. Of course if the beans need stringing, this is a pain, there’s no denying it!
Ingredients for Etli Ayşekadın Fasulye
Serves 6
1 kg tender green beans, topped and tailed.
250 gr ground beef/dana kıyma, or 1/2 kg cubed beef or veal/dana kuşbaşı
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste/salça
1 onion, grated
2 cups warm water
1 tsp seasoned salt/tuzot
Method
1.       Gently cook the grated onion, chopped tomatoes, and ground beef in a wide pan until all liquids have been absorbed. NB no oil is added.


here it is

all the liquid has boiled down
my jar of summer tomatoes

2.       Snap the beans into halves – you will soon see if they need stringing or not! – and add to the above mixture with the seasoned salt. Add the warm water and tomato paste, and cook over low heat till the beans are soft.

I did string mine

The beauty of these yemeks or meals, is that they can be made ahead and reheated with perhaps a little extra water. They keep well in the fridge too. Serve with plain yogurt if liked. A simple rice pilaf goes well with this.

Tips
§  The spoonful of tomato paste was my touch as I thought the dish looked a bit anaemic!
§  For a change, cubed veal or beef can be used instead of the mince - then it would become etli!
an aberrant fasulye
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