Lobio With Tomatoes

Doesn't that look good?

In the Caucasus (Southern Russia and Georgia), beans are called Lobio.  This dish comes in all different forms and flavors, but it is wonderful no matter how it's prepared.  The one that I made is very simple, combining sauteed onions, tomatoes and herbs to make a hearty dinner.

You will need:
  • 1 lb (500 g) dry pinto beans
  • 4 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 lb (500 g) meaty tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • dill
  • basil
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

I don't really measure the fresh herbs when I cook (the authentic way in the Caucasus is to eyeball it and grab a bigger or smaller handful of each, according to what the proportion should be), but I put them on a food scale today, just for you.  So the parsley and cilantro should be around 1 3/4 ounces each (bigger handfuls) and the dill and basil should be about 3/4 ounces each (smaller handfuls - see?  handfuls are so much easier).  On to the recipe!
First things first.  Soak the beans in a large bowl or pot overnight, according to package directions.  The next day, boil them in unsalted fresh water until tender.

Next, Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven until shimmering.  Add onions and saute them until tender.  That should take about 7 to 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the tomatoes.  Let them stew in that for a couple of minutes, and then use a slotted spoon to take them out of the hot water.  Remove the peels and seeds.  Roughly chop and smash the tomatoes before adding them to the onions.

Add cooked beans and their liquid to the onions and tomatoes.  Simmer until the liquid thickens.  I didn't time that, but it took maybe another 15 minutes.  Finely chop the herbs together and then add them to the beans about 5 to 10 minutes before they are done cooking.  

 Last, but certainly not least, Eat!  I served them with lavash (Armenian flatbread) and pickled garlic, but my husband says that they are great with any kind of dill pickled vegetables and fried cornbread cakes with feta (I'll post a recipe for that sometime soon).  You can even save a tiny handful of the herbs for a garnish and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Any way you eat it, it's delicious and healthy!

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