Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fava Beans and Rice رز على فول أخضر



The in-laws visited us last week and that means our fridge and kitchen counter are full of fresh organic produce and fruits from their garden, including 3 pounds of fresh green fava beans. I love fava beans! They are so versatile... like the
great black dress, you can wear it to a meeting with a nice jacket,  throw a fancy necklace and mile high heels. You're ready for a cocktail party! That is how I see Fava beans.

Cooked with rice, meat, or chicken stock, or vegetarian stock, or just plain water, it becomes a hearty main dish! They can also be served up as an appetizer or a snack (more on that in future posts). As I told you, I have 3 pounds of fresh Fava beans.  That's a lot of beans.  But no worries, they keep well when frozen in freezer bags.

When we were kids, green Fava beans and rice was one of my favorite dishes. I was not big on meat, so the vegetarian version was my favorite. I wanted to make it that way, but I know that my husband prefers rice cooked in chicken stock, so I opted for that. (Compromise is the key to a successful marriage!)

Preparing the green fava beans is a daunting task, but the result is pretty rewarding. I start by washing the fava pods, then I take the stems off (top and bottom) with a knife, then I cut the pod into medium pieces, occasionally singling-out the big beans and shelling them. At the end of my preparation session, I have a bowl full of cut pieces and loose shelled fava beans.



Ingredients:

1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 1/2 cups of cut pieces of organic fava pod and shelled beans
4 cups of organic low sodium chicken stock
1 cup of quick cook organic brown basmati rice (sold by Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon of salt (more could be added according to taste)
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper

In a medium cooking pot, heat the olive oil, add the chopped onion, reduce heat until they turn dark brown and caramelized. Be careful not to burn the onion, as it is really a matter of seconds from turning beautifully caramelized onions into something burned. Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add the pomegranate molasses, the fava pieces and beans and the chicken stock. Turn the heat up to medium until the stock starts to boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low. At this point all the flavors have become one. When the beans become tender,  you can add the salt, black pepper and rice on medium high heat until the mixture is boiling, then reduce heat to low to simmer until all the liquids have been absorbed by the rice. Taste it and adjust seasoning if necessary. I find that this dish usually need more salt to balance the sweetness of the pomegranate molasses and the caramelized onion.
Variations:

If you opt for uncooked brown basmati rice, know that brown rice takes more time and needs more liquid to cook. If you choose white basmati rice, be aware that it needs less liquid and time to cook. Please follow the cooking instructions on the package.

You can also add ground beef. If you choose to do so, then add the meat after 10-15 minutes from cooking the onions. When the meat is browned you can add beef stock or just plain water instead of chicken stock because the ground beef will flavor the water.

I like to serve this dish with a simple salad or yogurt. Now homemade yogurt sounds like a great idea... hmmmm... stay tuned.. the next blog will be Do It Yourself yogurt! It is easier than you ever thought!

Enjoy!
Nadine

2 comments:

  1. pomegranate molasses in rez b'fool, that is new. it sounds like a great idea though. for sure will try it next time I cook this dish :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree Shahla, the use of pomegranate molasses is not a traditional ingredient in Rez 3a Fool Recipe, but I use it when I make Turkish Eggplant stew (Recipe will be posted in the future) and I love the sweet sour flavor it brings. You can totally omit it if you wish so.

    ReplyDelete