Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ful Medames

Skywalker is studying Egyptian history. What I really love about her teacher is she does not like reading out of the textbook. I appreciate her style of teaching because I was bored to tears in about 95% of my Social Studies classes. It was by far my least favorite class but that's just me. I did have ONE college professor who made the class interesting. So much so that 15 years later, I still have the textbook for that class. Oh man, I feel old all of a sudden.

Anyhow, so part of Skywalker's Egyptian studies requires the class to make an Egyptian dish to bring in for a potluck. I love being given inspiration to try to a new dish! I really wanted Skywalker to make the dish herself since I found a relatively simple one but she has Taekwon Do on Wednesday evenings and I was unable to find fava beans when I went looking on Tuesday. This dish is traditionally served for breakfast with a fried egg on top and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. I'm forgoing the egg and the parsley for the school dish.I figured fried eggs wouldn't be very appetizing hours after cooking and some of the recipes for this dish lacked parsley anyhow.

I searched for a good recipe and came across this one from Serious Eats (I read this blog regularly) but decided to work with this one from Allrecipes. In actuality I took information from numerous sources (vegan blog, reviewers tips, etc) in order to create this dish. Here's what I used to make a double batch.

I could not find fava beans. If I'd had more time I would have checked to see if there was a middle eastern specialty shop but I had to settle for a substitution. Lima beans and Butter Beans came up several times. I recalled something about using a bigger bean so I went with the Butter Bean.

The first task was to dice the onions. The recipe I was using most called for 2 large onions but it felt like a LOT of onions for two cans of beans!! So I kinda chickened out. I only bought one onion. Then I reconsidered because not a single reviewer said "too oniony" or "next time I'll reduce onion" so I scrounged up a half onion from the fridge to add to the dish. This picture does not do justice at the volume of onions.

I used my onion chopper again for two reasons. I was a bit short on time and I wanted the onions to be finely diced since this meal was going to be consumed mostly by kids. It was already going to be an odd dish to them so let me reduce the "ew" factor by masking the onions as best as possible. My onion chopper comes with two different attachments to have either a really fine dice or larger dice. I used the smaller dice for the onions.

First I sauteed the onions in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil for several minutes over medium high heat.

As the onions cooked, I diced the tomatoes. First I sliced them into thick slices.

Then cut them into strips, lined the strips up and diced. Since I knew I would be cooking the tomatoes, I zipped through this process as I knew I wouldn't need to worry about a pretty dice for presentation's sake.

Once the onions were soft I added the tomatoes and sauteed for a few more minutes. As you can see, I really let the onions cook and soften up before adding the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes and onions cooked, I grabbed my garlic. I found some recipes that called for as much as five cloves for one can of beans so I was tempted to add more but since this was for "middle school kid" consumption, I decided to stay with six cloves total.

I prefer to smash my cloves with the side of my knife to prep them for chopping or smashing. You simply take the flat part of the knife, position it over one clove and just hit the blade with the palm of your hand to smash the clove a bit. Doing that makes removing the papery skin a cinch! For mincing garlic, I then cut into strips and then dice, similar to how I did the tomato. If the clove is really big and thick, I'll cut into slices, then strips and then proceed to dice.

After sauteeing the tomatoes for about 3 more minutes (or until soft) I added the garlic. With there being so very little liquid, I didn't want to take the chance of burning the garlic which is why I added the garlic about five minutes before I was going to add the beans. I also added 2 teaspoons of cumin, 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt, a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper and about 1 tablespoon of Tahini sauce.

I let the mixture cook for about five minutes.I lightly rinsed the Butter Beans and then added them to the sauteed vegetables. Once dumping them in and stirring, I let the mixture cook for about five minutes. After the bean mixture cooked some, I started mashing the beans up with my wooden spoon and stirred occasionally. Keep in mind that there's very little liquid and we're cooking at medium to medium high heat so you want to stir regularly to avoid burning the mixture.

It was so tasty and of course it's got to be healthy right? That's my claim anyhow. The lemon I sliced into wedges to send as a garnish. Some recipes called for adding the lemon in and others called for adding it at the end with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley. Since I didn't want to use up a lemon wedge for my personal gluttony, I only tried the dish on some pita bread. Although I didn't eat them with fried eggs, I did finish the below serving for breakfast. Very filling and pretty darned scrumptious AND the kids loved the dish. Not a bit of it made it home.

(Adapted from Fava Bean Breakfast Spread)

2 16oz cans of Butter Beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of Tahini sauce
3 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice as garnish
  1. Over medium high, add olive oil and the onions. Saute for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  2. Add the tomatoes, saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices then continue to cook for another 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the Butter Beans. After cooking for about 5 minutes, mash the beans with a spoon. 
  4. Cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Serve with fresh lemon juice squeezed over mixture and eat on pita wedges.

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