flat bean stew with rice | riza sherw’it fasouleyeh

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To stew the meat:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds stew meat cut into medium chunks
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

To make the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup medium diced onion
  • 2 jalapeños (or 1 big banana pepper), cored and diced medium
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans stewed tomatoes *
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 kilogram bag of frozen flat beans **
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T lemon juice (from about 1 very juicy lemon)
  • serve with: 1 medium pot of simple rice


  • Stew the meat: Combine the stew meat, water, black pepper, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium, and cook with the lid very slightly cocked to the side for about 50 minutes to an hour, until the meat is tender. Maintain a low boil while it cooks. If too much water evaporates and exposes the meat, add a little more water.
  • Make the stew: While you’re waiting on the meat, in a stockpot or dutch oven, melt the butter with the oil over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the onions and cook for 6 minutes, stirring every minute or two, until they’re a little golden.
  • Add the jalapeños to the stockpot, and cook for 3 minutes to soften them a little.
  • Add the stewed tomatoes to the stock pot, stir everything together, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for about 35 minutes until the tomatoes disintegrate a little (but not completely). Set it aside while you wait for the meat to finish cooking.
  • (This is a good time to start the rice).
  • Add the meat and its cooking liquid to the tomatoes. Stir in the cup of boiling water, salt to taste, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the meat to become a little more tender.
  • While you’re waiting, thaw the flat beans a little by running water over them for a minute or two. Let them drain and cut them in half into shorter pieces.
  • Stir in the flat beans, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, until the beans are tender.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, salt a little more to taste if necessary, and serve the shirwah alongside basmati rice.


* Just about any grocery store will have stewed tomatoes, there is usually not as much selection as diced, so you might have to scour the tomato aisle for a minute or two to find them.

** Flat beans, which are huge, broad green beans with an edible shell (usually imported from Greece, and pictured here) work particularly well here, but you can use 2 1/4 lbs of whatever frozen green beans are available at your grocery store. Flat beans that are imported from Greece are usually sold in 1 kg bags. Look for flat beans in Greek and Italian markets, as well as supermarkets with large imported frozen food sections (in Chicago, we usually find them at Fresh Farms and Treasure Island foods).