My mother used to hum a little ditty when we were kids, a catchy tune. The words went something like this:
Yer-goo-shap-tee, Fa-ssoul-ia (repeat)
Then the chorus:
Fa-ssoul-ia- ia,- ia
Translation: Monday, beans.
My brother & I used to laugh and dance to the chorus!
When my mother was young, she & the other Armenian children in the Paterson, N.J. area had Armenian classes 3 afternoons a week. Their teacher, Nevart (Bakalian) Hajian, traveled from distant Newark to Paterson to teach them the language, songs and dances of Armenia.
The song mentioned above taught the days of the week. Each day was associated with a food, so this song cleverly served two purposes.
One of my all-time-favorite fassoulia recipes is green beans with ground lamb. Another favorite is using lamb from stewed lamb bones, as pictured in this post. To lighten the recipe, we sometimes use ground turkey, which turns out to be a suitable substitute.
Vegetarians will be happy to know this recipe translates well without any meat.
A tomato-based string bean stew that is delicious with stewed lamb, ground lamb, beef or turkey or even as a vegetarian entree.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutesminutes
Cook Time 1 hourhour45 minutesminutes
Total Time 2 hourshours5 minutesminutes
1lbground meatlamb, beef or turkey
1tspcrushed dried basil
1tspcrushed dried oregano
2lbFresh or frozen green beans or Italian pole beans If using fresh green beans, trim the ends, and cut into 1 inch pieces
15ozcan diced tomatoesunsalted
3oztomato pastediluted in 1 cup water or stock
In a non-stick skillet, brown meat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain any excess fat. Place meat in a bowl & set aside.
Using the same skillet, saute the onions in olive oil until soft and slightly brown.
Return the meat to the skillet with the onions. Add salt, pepper, allspice, basil, oregano, and garlic. Cover & cook 10 more minutes.
In a large pot, add the green beans. Pour the canned tomatoes, and the diluted tomato paste over the green beans; stir.
Add the meat mixture to the green beans. Mix together.
Bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Add a little more water or stock, as needed.
Serve with rice or bulgur pilaf.
The fassoulia tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have a chance to intensify. Oh yes, a loaf of crusty bread goes great with this, too!If making this without meat, this dish can be served cold or at room temperature.