Loubyieh b’zeit is often cooked in a tomato-based stew. I prefer by far the non-tomato version, which is loaded with garlic (cooked garlic adds sweetness to the dish) and concentrates the taste of the green beans.
String beans are unknown to traditional Lebanese gardens and cuisine. The green beans used here are flat runner beans, also known as Italian romano beans; they are not round as are string beans, and they are in fact the pods of white or red beans. When left to mature, beans will develop in the pods, and when left to dry on the plant, they will become red or white beans. The best green bean variety is called bedryieh, as the pods do not have strings and turn meltingly soft when cooked.
- 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) romano (flat) green beans
- 3 medium yellow onions
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
- Kamal Mouzawak
Trim the green beans of any side strings and cut in half.
Finely chop the onions. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until light gold, about 10 minutes. Peel the garlic cloves, but keep the cloves whole, and add to the onions. Add the green beans and black pepper, and season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook until the beans are soft and tender. (This may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the beans and your preference, so taste to be sure.) Cooking the green beans without any additional water will concentrate their flavor, but the heat must be very low for the beans to cook without them drying or burning.
Serve hot or at room temperature.