My fondest family memories always revolved around food. If my mother wasn’t cooking for the business her and my dad operated, mom was cooking for our weekly friends and family get-togethers. My parents rarely traveled, except for the occasional visit to Lebanon. What re-charge the average person received from vacations away from family and work, for them pleasure and relaxation were hosting dinners for friends and family. To say mom would prepare six to ten items on any given get-together would be underestimating. One constant dish was Fa-sou-lia. This is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods! It’s the Lebanese equivalent of Chili, except she would serve it over rice. Also, she would often omit the meat for a tasty vegetarian version. Traditionally either Lima or Pinto beans are used, but my mother always used Kidney beans.
Fa-sou-lia (Lebanese stew with kidney beans):
1 Tbs. extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium white Onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. boiling Water
4 cups Kidney beans (boiled or canned)
2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
1 tsp. Allspice
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Black pepper
1 – 1-1/2 Tsp. salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Place medium size pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil to the pot and wait 2 minutes. Add the onion and gently sauté, stirring, until they turn translucent.
Add the beans, tomato paste, and spices. Return heat to medium.
If needed add another 1/2 c. of water to keep liquid level with beans. Stir well. Once stew begins to bubble, cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
Serve over White Rice Pilaf.