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Mains, Vegetarian


Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

I don't think I've ever met a clay cooking pot I didn't like . . . or want to own. And I have more than 100 clay pots of every size in my kitchen to prove it: Moroccan tagines, Provencal ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours and 40 minutes | Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans
  • Salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 to 4 ounces basturma, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 green cardamom seeds, bruised
  • 1 teaspoon Marash or Aleppo pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1Pick over the beans to remove any grit. Rinse the beans under cold running water; then place them in a large bowl with 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Step 2Drain the soaked beans, reserving the soaking water. Put the beans, onion, and red bell pepper in the pot. Stir in enough reserved water just to cover the mixture, about 1 3/4 to 2 cups (reserve the remaining water). Cover the pot, set it on a heat diffuser over low heat, and slowly bring to a boil while gently increasing the heat; this can take up to 45 minutes.

Step 3Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, removing the lid from time to time to keep the beans at a constant simmer. If the beans begin to dry out, heat the remaining soaking water and add as necessary (adding the water cold may cause the pot to crack).

Step 4In a small conventional skillet, cook the basturma in the olive oil over medium heat until it just begins to crisp, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cardamom seeds, Marash or Aleppo pepper, a pinch each of salt and pepper and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil; then remove from heat and add to the beans. Stir gently, cover, and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Serve hot.

Note: Adapted from "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" by Paula Wolfert, who credits Ayfer Unsal for sharing her recipe. She recommends using a heat diffuser for slow, steady cooking (especially if using an electric or ceramic stove top) and calls for a 2 1/2 - to 3-quart bean pot or Turkish guvec. Aleppo pepper can generally be found in Middle Eastern markets and cooking stores, as well as online. Marash pepper can be found at select Middle Eastern markets and online.


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