Loubia (Algerian White Beans)

Loubia (Algerian White Beans)

Loubia, Loobia, Lubia!

Loubia is the Algerian comparable of American Chili, Texas Ranch Beans or even English Baked Beans. In Algeria this stew is served in a cassolette with a splash of vinegar, olive oil and of course fresh baked bread. The vinegar and olive oil help to balance the heaviness of this dish. Any vinegar other than apple cider is fine to serve with it. Some people like to have additional ground cumin, minced garlic and chilies to garnish their loubia, so depending on who you are serving it’s nice to have these on the table.

Traditionally haricot beans would be used but as I live in the U.S. we call them navy beans. Great Northern Beans can be used as well, but just any white bean in general is good to use. Also as I’m an American and we do love our beef I added  meatballs made of such. You can easily trade out the beef for lamb or even make it vegeterian. There are so many variations of what you can do with this. There’s even a soup called Chorba Loubia. Just add more water, potatoes and carrots. Perfect for a cold winter night.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions diced finely
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 pound navy beans (soaked)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl take your ground beef and season with garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly and form into 1 1/2 inch balls.
  3. Set aside.

Beans:

  1. In a pot heat olive oil and add onions.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and let the onions sweat until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and continue to saute onions and garlic. Make sure not to brown garlic as it will cause a bitter taste.
  4. Add meatballs and brown.
  5. Once all the meatballs are browned evenly add cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  6. Add beans and 6 cups hot water.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Add tomato paste and bouillon cube.
  9. Let boil for 1 minute, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 1 hour. Occasionally testing the firmness of the beans.
  10. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

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*soak beans the night prior to cooking.

M’thouem Sauce Blanche (Algerian Garlic Meatballs in White Sauce)

Algerian M'thouem

M’thouem or M’tewem is an Algerian dish specifically from Algiers. A  traditional dish during Ramadan; it is composed of meatballs, chickpeas and garlic. In Arabic the word “thouem” means garlic, hence the name M’thouem. The amount of garlic in this dish can be adjusted at will. There are many variations of this dish, as the sauce can be red or white and the chickpeas can be switched out with almonds or served with both. What you pair with it can vary as well, over couscous, or just with bread to soak up the sauce. Either way you serve it, I’m sure this dish will become a staple in your home soon.

Today I will be preparing M’thouem Sauce Blanche as it is my husband’s favorite way for it to be done.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced beef (93% lean is best)
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup almonds (blanched and split)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped finely (some people use a hold head, or you can use less)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine minced beef, bread crumbs, salt, cumin and black pepper.
  2. Roll into meatballs no larger than a quarter in circumference.
  3. Place meatballs on wax paper and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  4. In a pot heat olive oil and throw in onions. Sprinkle with salt and let sweat until translucent.
  5. Turning down the heat to medium low, add in garlic. Let sweat quickly making sure not to burn.
  6. Add meatballs to pot and let brown. Browning the meatballs will ensure that they will not fall apart in the sauce.
  7. Once meatballs have browned add chickpeas.
  8. Add hot water just covering the meatballs. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a beef bouillon cube if taste is not rich enough.
  10. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it do so for 30 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce in half.
  11. 10 minutes before serving add in the almonds.
  12. Serve with a nice crusty bread such as a baguette.

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