Never go to a supermarket before a hurricane. I learned this the hard way a few days ago. I’m not one of those people who goes out to buy matches, water, candles, batteries, blah blah, so it’s not like I was there to stock up on stuff like a crazy person. I am just the person who plans to do all of their catch-up food shopping on a weekend when there happens to be a hurricane coming. That being said, I thought hard about what kinds of foods would be best to eat in a hurricane, and came up with a few requirements:
- Can be cooked if the power goes out. This means it has to be cooked on a burner (not in a slow-cooker or the oven). This also means it has to be cooked in one pot, because if I can’t see what I’m doing, I at least want all of my food to be in one pot so I don’t make a huge mess.
- It has to be easy to prep, serve and eat (again, I may be doing this in the dark).
Satisfying these criteria was, of course, chili. But, I already wrote about that (see last post), and this hurricane was pretty persistent, so I needed a second meal.
For some reason mostly related to a craving I had, I next thought about making fasoolya. Fasoolya (Armenians pronounce this FAH-sool-ya, but I’m pretty sure that they say it differently in Arabic) is a Middle Eastern green bean stew with lamb. It’s pretty easy to make, tastes great, and can be a one-pot meal. My mom would make it without lamb as a side dish, or with lamb as a main course, and served it with pilaf. I found that making it in the slow cooker is very easy, but because of the possibility of the power going out, I decided to make it on the stove. I will give instructions on how to make it either way, but I really recommend making it in a slow cooker if you have one.
Serves 6 as a side dish, and 3-4 as a main dish
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2-2.5 hours on the stovetop, 4 hours on high in the slowcooker, 6-8 hours on low in the slowcooker
1 lb lamb (can be leg, shank, or stew meat. Any cut intended for slow cooking. Avoid using lamb chops or a cut used for grilling. You can use up to 2 lb of lamb if you want more lamb)
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28 oz can ground peeled tomatoes
1.5 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
Pour enough olive oil in a medium to large pot to cover the bottom (maybe 4 tablespoons?), and heat on medium for about 1-2 minutes. Add the lamb, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and brown on all sides (about 7-10 minutes).
|This is when the power went out. Note the flash.|
Add the onions, garlic, and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low heat, covered, for about 1.5-2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and falls off the bone (if the lamb is boneless, it should just be easy to pull apart with two forks). Add green beans and water, stir, and cover again, cooking on low for about 20-30 minutes (add more water if necessary). Remove the bone, if there is one, before serving. This can be served on its own or over rice.
I apologize for not having a prettier picture of this dish served on a plate, but I was on my way out the door and brought it in a plastic container to eat later. I figured this picture would suffice.
Slow cooker method: put all the ingredients, starting with the lamb, into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Isn’t that easy?