LOUBIA is an Algerian speciality that gets its flavor from DERSA, a spicy blend
of ground dried red chilies (use New Mexican in the US), garlic, and ground cumin.
Dersa is a predominant seasoning in the Algerian cuisine. A dash of vinegar is traditionally added to each bowl of Loubia upon serving.
1 lb (2 cups) small navy beans, soaked
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lrg onion, finely diced
3 sm dried red chilies, seeded
15 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp ground cumin
6 oz tomato paste, canned
2 x tomatoes, coarsely chopped
7 cup water, or vegetable broth
2 x bay leaves
1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
20 spring fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt
10 spring fresh cilantro, chopped Cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar, (optional)
Soak and drain the beans. Set aside.
SOAKING BEANS: Rinse and pick over the beans and soak them overnight in a bowl of water to cover. Drain and proceed with the recipe. For the quick-soak method, place the beans in a large soup pot and add 10 cups of hot water.
Bring them to a rolling boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the beans
stand in the cooking water for at least 1 hour, and preferable longer. Drain the beans and proceed with the recipe. The older the beans, the longer they will take to cook. (She recommends adding salt to the cooking water: up to 2 teaspoons per pound of dried beans.)
In a large soup pot over medium high heat, heat the oil, and cook the onion,stirring occasionally, until tender; 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chilies, garlic, paprika, pepper, and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1 cup of the water or broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans, the remaining 6 cups water or broth, the bay leaves, cayenne, and 10 of the parsley sprigs tied together with cotton string. Mince the remaining parsley and set aside. Lower the heat to medium low, cover, and cook the beans until tender, 1 to 2 hours.
Before serving, discard the chilies, bay leaves, and tied parsley. Season with salt. Stir in the reserved minced parsley and cilantro. Serve hot with vinegar on the side, if you like.
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