Kuru Fasulye is a hearty and rich Turkish stew made with white beans and diced lamb or beef slowly cooked in a tomato sauce. It is packed with lots of flavours and is the ultimate comfort dish for cold winter nights.
In Turkey, every “lokanta” (a small restaurant that serves cheap, cheerful but tasty ready-made meals) has this famous dish on its menu. I have been to one of them in Istanbul that only serves “Kuru Fasulye and Turkish Rice Pilaf” dished up together. It is usually accompanied by some crusty Turkish bread and “tursu” (pickled vegetables). They only had the vegetarian version and it tasted so divine that we all asked for the second ones!
There are many different variations of this popular bean stew and my favourite is the one cooked with lamb. You can use beef instead of lamb or add pastirma (air-dried beef popular in Turkey) for a stronger flavour. The vegetarian version is as delicious as the meaty one. Add some extra vegetables such as carrots, celery, or peppers, use vegetable stock and you have a delicious vegetarian bean stew.
How to Make Kuru Fasulye
Kuru fasulye is an extremely delicious and warming dish that is very easy and straightforward to cook. There are few easy steps that you need to follow to achieve the best results:
- Soak the beans – Soaking the beans overnight is necessary and helps to reduce the cooking time. Use plenty of water as they will double the size up when soaked. You can use any type of white beans such as navy beans, haricot or cannelini. They all have different cooking times so make sure you cook them until soft and almost falling apart.
- Pre-cook the beans – Place the beans in a large enough pan and add plenty of cold water. Cook the beans for about an hour or until they are “al dante”. They will get cooked further with the meat. The cooking time depends on the type of bean you are using. I used haricot beans for this recipe. Drain the beans and discard the cooking liquid.
- Prepare the tomatoey meat sauce – Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Put a dutch oven or heavy based pan on high heat and add olive oil. I prefer using dutch oven for stews, slow cooked meat or even for bread. They are perfect for slow cooking because of how heavy they are. They retain and distribute heat evenly which makes them ideal for searing meat at high heat and maintaining low-and-slow temperatures for a long time. I am using the which is reasonably priced and perfect for the job! When the pan is hot enough, brown the meat. Do it in batches if necessary. Turn the heat down to medium to low, add the onions and garlic, saute until translucent. Add the tomatoes and stir in the tomato paste, chili (optional) and the pepper paste (optional). You can add extra tomato paste if you don’t have pepper paste. Also replace red chili with chili flakes or totally skip it if you don’t like spicy.
Add the pre-cooked beans, salt, cumin, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir until combined before adding the liquid. I prefer using Homemade Beef Stock but chicken stock or vegetable stock works great as well. You can use stock cubes if you don’t have any stock in hand. Make sure you don’t add too much salt as ready-made stocks and stock cubes contain salt already. Use enough liquid to cover the beans and the meat.
Cover the pan with a lid or tin foil and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat and beans are soft. Make sure to check every 30 to 40 minutes and give it a stir to provide even cooking.
The traditional or most common way to serve this comforting stew is to serve it with Turkish Rice Pilaf and some mixed pickles. Alternatively, you can serve them with some crusty bread or Bazlama. Try with a bowl of Lentil and bulgur Pilaf(Mercimekli Bulgur pilavi) or Bulgur Pilaf for a healthier option.
Yes, Kuru Fasülye is a healthy dish as well as being delicious. White beans are full of nutrition and fairly low in calories. They also have high fibre and protein content which promote feelings of fullness, leaving you less likely to overeat!
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious kuru fasulye (baked bean stew with lamb) as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet olsun!
- 250 g dried white beans such as haricot, cannelini or navy beans (soaked in plenty of water overnight)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 400 g diced lamb
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 large tomato (chopped)
- 1 red chili (optional) (chopped) or chili flakes to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tbsp red pepper paste (optional) (add extra tomato paste if not using red pepper paste)
- 700 ml beef stock or chicken stock
- ½ TSP freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ TSP cumin
- 1 TSP salt
- Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight.
- Drain the beans and place in a pan with fresh water, cook on medium heat for an hour.
- Drain the beans again, get rid of the cooking liquid, and set them aside to use later.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
- Place a heavy-based pan or dutch oven on medium to high heat.
- When hot, add the olive oil and brown the meat.
- Add onion and garlic, saute until translucent and add the tomatoes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, chili (optional), and the pepper paste (optional, add extra tomato paste if not using).
- Add the pre-cooked beans along with the salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Pour in the beef stock or chicken stock and stir well. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the beans.
- Cover the pan with the lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat and beans are soft. Make sure to check every 30 to 40 minutes and give it a stir.
Did you make this recipe?