Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Turkish-Inspired Green Beans and Rice Pilaf





I was stationed in Turkey for 3 ½ years in the early 90s.  I loved being there.  I enjoyed the travel, the people and the food.  I won’t say that I’m proficient at Turkish cooking, but I have my adaptations of some of my favorite Turkish dishes.  Turks use a lot of tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic.  Meat is usually lamb or ground lamb.  This is my version of Turkish Green Beans, or Zeytinyağli Taze Fasulye.  It is a tava- or stew-like dish.  Turks would use ground lamb.  I substitute ground beef.  It is typically served over rice pilaf, truly one of my favorite treats from my time in Turkey.  This can be a delicious, healthy, low-fat meal. 

Ingredients for Turkish Green Beans (Zeytinyağli Taze Fasulye)

1 large can of tomato juice, about 46 oz
1 can diced tomatoes, about 15 oz

2 large cans green beans, about 46 oz each, or 1 large bag frozen green beans
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces, about 1”

2 lbs ground beef
1 egg

1 large onion, chopped
8-12 garlic cloves

Lawry’s seasoned salt
Lawry’s garlic powder with parsley

Chili powder

1- Pour tomato juice and tomatoes into a 6 qt Dutch oven pot. 

2- Add green beans and seasonings. 

3- Add onions. 

4- Leave garlic cloves whole, or cut into thin horizontal slices.  Add to pot. 

5- Bring to low boil, covered. 

6- Once green beans are in the pot, start preparing meat mixture. 

7- In a large bowl, mix eggs, seasoned salt and garlic powder with hamburger. 

8- Form “footballs” with meat mixture by cupping fingers against the palm of your hand. 

9- Drop meat footballs one at a time into simmering pot.  Cook 30 minutes. 

10- Add cubed potatoes.  Continue simmering on low for 20-30 minutes, until meatball texture softens and potatoes are fork-tender. 

11- Remove garlic cloves if desired (if you only want the flavor.) 

Serve Green Beans over Rice Pilaf and enjoy!  Break off a piece of crusty French bread, which will be close enough to Turkish ekmek. 

Use extra lean ground beef, and serve over regular rice (boiled in water and drained) for a low fat meal. 



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