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North African version of chili and beans!


   1  pound  (2 cups) small navy beans, soaked
   1/4  cup olive oil
   1 large  onion, finely diced
   3   small  dried red chilies, seeded
   15  garlic cloves,  minced
   1   tablespoon  sweet paprika
   1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
   4  teaspoons ground cumin
   6  ounces tomato paste, canned
   2  tomatoes, coarsely chopped
   7  cups water or vegetable broth
   2  bay leaves
   1/8  teaspoon cayenne,  or to taste
   20  sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
   2 1/2  teaspoons  salt
   10  sprigs fresh cilantro,  chopped
   Cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, optional

LOUBIA is an Algerian speciality that gets its flavor from DERSA, a spicy
blend of ground dried red chilies (use New Mexican in the US), garlic, and ground 
cumin.  Dersa is a predominant season ing in the cuisine.  A dash of vinegar
is traditionally added to each bowl of Loubia on serving.

Soak and drain the beans. Set aside.
SOAKING BEANS: Rinse and pick over the beans and soak them  overnight in a 
bowl of  water to cover. Drain and proceed with the recipe.  For the
quick-soak  method, place the beans in a large soup pot and add 10 cups of hot water.
Bring them to a rolling boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the
beans stand in the cooking water for at least 1 hour, and preferable longer.
Drain the beans and proceed with the recipe. The older the beans, the longer they
will take to cook. (She recommends adding salt to the cooking water:  up to 2
teaspoons per pound of dried beans.)  

In a large soup pop over medium high heat, heat the oil, and cook the
onion, stirring occasionally, until tender; 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chilies, garlic,
paprika, pepper, and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato
paste and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in
the tomatoes and 1 cup of the water or broth and bring to a boil. Add the
beans, the remaining 6 cups water or broth, the bay leaves, cayenne, and 10 of the
parsley sprigs tied together with cotton string.  Mince the remaining parsley
and set aside. Lower the heat to medium low, cover, and cook the beans until
tender, 1 to 2 hours.

Before serving, discard the chilies, bay leaves, and tied parsley. Season
with salt. Stir in the reserved minced parsley and cilantro. Serve hot with
vinegar on the side, if you like. 

Copyright 2001 2011 The Gutsy Gourmet - All rights reserved