Monday, October 1, 2012

Lubia bi Zait

Green beans, sauteed onions and juicy tomatoes make beautiful music as solitary notes of garlic and lemon juice ply us to the table. Yes, it's all healthy and hearty, but it's the crunchy squares of fried pita bread nestled in tangy labneh garnishing the top that sets my fork to tapping. Lubia (green beans) bi Zait (in oil) is something of a green bean stew indigenous to the Levant (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria). Soumaya, our Lebanese friend, called this a common family dish and would also add browned ground beef to make a meal of it. (Labneh is a thickened yogurt product similar in thickness to sour cream but much more tart. Plain Greek yogurt will do the trick!)

Lubia bi Zeit

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed of stems
3 large ripe tomatoes diced or 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
2 medium onions, slivered
4 cloves of garlic crushed
4 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste
3 loaves pita bread, cut in 1 inch squares
1/4 cup oil for frying

-Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onions and fry till soft and golden.  Add garlic and beans. Keep frying on low heat for 15 minutes, or till the beans start to soften. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes. 

-Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in another skillet.  Add pita bread squares and fry turning frequently until they are browned and golden.  Set aside.

-Serve beans warm or at room temperature, topped with thicken yogurt (Greek style) and garnished with pita croutons.  Serves 6 - 8.

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