Sunday, October 12, 2008

White Beans with Bastirma

I got this wonderful recipe from the Almost Turkish recipe blog. Bastirma is a salted, highly seasoned, pressed beef product that you can find at the deli counter in Holy Land. I think it fulfills the role a pork product like bacon would fill in non-Muslim (or Jewish) cuisine. It has a complex, salty flavor, with a lot of paprika in it. It's well worth buying and is also very good in scrambled eggs and fried potatoes.

Here's a domestic brand of bastirma. They have several at Holy Land, so you might find a pack that doesn't look exactly like this. They are probably all tasty, though I hear that the stuff imported from Turkey is more intensely flavored.

1 lb. cannellini beans, soaked overnight (or 2 cans, drained)
1/2 pack of bastirma strips (10-12 pieces), shredded
butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 banana peppers, chopped
1 Tbsp. pepper or tomato paste
2 tomatoes, diced (or 1 can petite diced tomatoes)
1 tsp. crushed pepper
1 tsp. dried mint
1 tsp. oregano
salt to taste
2 c. water or broth

All of the ingredients assembled. Please excuse my bizarre food experiments in the background. The peppers came from my co-worker's garden and the tomatoes are some of the very few ripe ones I produced!

Soak the cannelini beans for 8-12 hrs. and boil or pressure cook them until they are tender but a little undercooked. Drain well.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onions in oil until they become soft and translucent, adding the garlic part way through. Add the peppers and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the pepper/tomato paste and stir well so that it coats the veggies and is fully distributed.

Stir in the tomatoes, using the liquid they give off to scrape any brown bits off of the bottom of the pot. Add the black pepper, mint, and oregano. Stir in the bastirma pieces and cook for a minute or so to release the flavors.

Add the drained beans and combine everything together thoroughly. Add enough water/broth so that the beans are submerged by ~3/4" liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for one hour. (You can also use the pressure cooker here, but I think you get better flavor from a slow cooking).

This looks about a thousand times better in the Almost Turkish photo, so seriously just click on that. It's really, really tasty though--I promise!

When the beans are completely tender, remove from heat and salt to taste. Serve with buttered crusty bread and, if you like, freshly grated parmesan.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it looks tastier in your photo--more dense and hearty. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

i agree, yours looks more like the stuff i had in turkey