About the Recipe
The Rhodeslis make a simple but utterly delicious vegetarian meal with young, plump green beans when they are in season. The secret ingredient to this flavoursome dish is time. Time taken to gently braise the beans until ultra tender and velvety. The beans are cooked with paper thin sliced onions and garlic, parsley and dill with their stalks along with carrots, potatoes and ripe chopped fresh tomatoes with extra-virgin olive oil. I like fasolia served with a large cube of crumbly Greek feta and a vermicelli rice pilaf with crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Keep the leftovers to offer at room temperature as part of the meze table as is the custom in Turkey.
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 large onion, finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, sliced 2 cups peeled, seeded and finely chopped ripe tomatoes or canned chopped tomatoes
1 tender celery stalk with leaves, cut into chunks sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
500g (1lb 2oz) stringless runner (green) beans, trimmed and cut into 3 pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks 1 medium potato, quartered 2 sprigs of parsley and dill with stems 1 cup hot vegetable stock or water
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh dill
For the garnish: 1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oil in a large, shallow, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes until the beans are very tender and the sauce is reduced. Stir occasionally to ensure the beans are well immersed in the sauce. Add more hot water as necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve warm sprinkled with dill and drizzled with olive oil
Tender green string beans or the delicate yellow wax beans, known as hanum fasoulya, can be used instead of runner beans.
This stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days if covered. You’ll notice the flavours meld and improve.
The Sephardim from the Ottoman Empire enjoy a version of this bean stew with yellow runner beans affectionately called hanum fasoulya as they are more delicate in flavour and meltingly tender.