The Assyrian word for “green beans” is “Fasolia.” Now you know why this soup is called “Fasolia.” In fact, green beans are called “Fasolia” by most Middle Easterners. This includes Ethiopians, Palestinians, Egyptians, Turks, Arabs, and even Greeks!
My Green Bean Stew Recipe
This Green Bean Stew recipe is slightly different than the one in my cookbook (Mom’s Authentic Assyrian Recipes), which was published in 2008. Since then, my cooking skills have definitely improved. This should explain the slight adjustments I’ve made to improve the recipe.
In Assyrian homes, stews are served at least a few times a week, if not more. Stews like Bamya (Okra Stew), and Masheh (White Bean Stew) are no-brainers when it comes to preparing a quick and delicious dinner.
Stews are usually served over white rice, along with plenty of herbs, scallions, and pickles. Sometimes bread (known as “Samoon“) is torn into pieces and placed in a bowl and the stew is poured over it. This might sound strange to you, but don’t knock it until you try it!
Most of these stews are prepared the same and have similar ingredients. The main difference being the vegetable in the stew. Some stew examples include zucchini, okra, potatoes, and peas.
The stew always includes meat, unless prepared on Wednesdays or Fridays (when many Assyrians abstain from eating meat).
What Meat is Used in Fasolia?
I absolutely love lamb, don’t you? Lamb adds an amazing flavor to stews in particular. As the lamb slowly cooks in the stew, it becomes very tender. So tender that teeth are not required!
I realize not everyone shares my love for lamb. Actually, it seems people either LOVE it or HATE it. So don’t worry, I won’t force you to use lamb. Beef is the next best thing, just promise me you won’t skip the bones!
Using meat with bones enhances the flavor of Fasolia even more. This is why I use the bone broth that’s created from the simmered meat. If you are worried about the extra fat, toss the broth and use water instead. However, just know, it won’t be as flavorful as using the broth.
Can you use canned green beans in Fasolia?
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. In this instance, I beg of you, don’t use canned green beans to make Fasolia. The beans will fall apart during the long cooking time. Not to mention they will not be as flavorful as fresh green beans. If you’re lucky enough to have green beans in your garden, of course, use them. Alternatively, you can use frozen green beans.
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Fasolia (Green Bean Stew)
- 1 lb. stew beef or lamb (with bones)
- 4 cups fresh green beans
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 1 T. paprika
- 1 large tomato (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (slivered)
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 1½ T. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- Cut rinsed meat into large portions and add to a 5 qt. Dutch oven
- Add 5 cups of water, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the meat is cooking, trim the ends from green beans, cut in half, and slice down the middle. Set aside.
- Pour contents of the Dutch oven through a strainer (over a bowl) to collect the broth.
- Rinse the meat and the pot.
- Return the meat back to the pot, along with oil, onion, and paprika.
- Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the meat is browned and the onion is sautéed.
- Add the green beans, chopped tomato, and garlic to the Dutch oven.
- Dissolve tomato paste into the reserved hot liquid, and stir in salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.
- Pour the broth mixture over the beans and stir gently.
- Covered and simmer for an additional 30 to 40 minutes.
- Serve over white rice, bread, or eat as is.