Monday, December 5, 2011

Fül (Bean Stew)

Yield: 4 large servings

This is a common dish throughout Eritrea, even in the small villages. We have eaten it most often for breakfast at our local Yemeni restaurant. We also ordered it when we went to Massawa (on the Red Sea coast) but it took a few tries before the waitress understood we foreigners really did want to eat it with our Cappuccino (that arrived with no milk). The stew is easy to make, keeps and reheats beautifully. In Eritrea it is eaten without utensils. Each bowl is served with hard rolls or bread that you tear off into pieces and scoop up the stew. In Eritrea, as in Morocco, each person does not get a separate bowl; instead, bowls are shared.

3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, finely diced
¾ teaspoon berbere
2 cups dried fava or pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tomato, diced
2 Anaheiim chili peppers, seeded and diced.

1. In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion until it is golden. Stir in the berbere.
2. Add the beans and 4 cups of water; bring to a rolling boil. Then decrease the heat until it simmers.
3. Cover the pot and simmer for at least 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Check occasionally to see that the beans are still covered with water. If they are not, add more water.
4. Remove 2 cups of cooked beans and put them in a blender. Add 1 cup of hot water and purée.
5. Pour the purée back into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. You will have two textures of beans: paste and whole beans
6. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir.
7. Serve in bowls, garnished with pieces of tomato, onions, and peppers.