Monday, November 12, 2007

Pilaki - "Pinto Beans Cooked in Olive Oil"

Turkish cuisine has appetizers called "meze". It's similar to the Greek tradition. In both, before you eat the main course, you linger socially over small plates of savories, among them vegetables, mostly cooked in olive oil and eaten cold. Pilaki is one of these mezes. I also serve it next to rice to complement assorted main meat or chicken dishes.

This one is my mother's recipe, tested and cooked for over 30 years:) The recipe uses dry beans which you need to soak overnight, but I never seem to plan ahead like that, so I used canned pinto beans, which do the job just fine.

If you like beans, give this dish a try. It really is tasty. And it is healthy, although I have to admit it might pack some calories, but it is so worth it:)

If you don't have tomato juice at home, you can use tomato paste and use 1/2 cup water instead. I like the tomato juice better, it makes the dish less heavy.


1 Cup Pinto Beans
2 Potatoes
2 Carrots
1 Onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup Tomato Juice
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cups Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you are using packaged beans, soak overnight, and then cook the beans for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, because you will cook them some more later. If you are using canned beans, you don't need to cook them. Just set them aside.

Cut potatoes and carrots into cubes and boil until tender, but, again, do not overcook, you will be cooking them together with the beans again later.

Grate the onions, and mince and mash the garlic to make a paste. They need to disappear in the tomato sauce.

Add all the ingredients to a pot. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until all vegetables are tender, but before they are overcooked.

Remove from heat and let cool. When cold enough move over to a serving dish and enjoy.

Some people enjoy adding a couple of drops of lemon after the dish cools down.

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