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Khoreshe Loobia (Green Bean Stew)

2 pounds stewing beef or lamb cut into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller
1 large onion -- finely chopped
2 cloves to 3 garlic -- chopped finely
1 large can whole or crushed tomatoes*
1 tablespoon to 2 tomato paste -- (optional)
1 pound fresh green beans cut into 1/2 to 1 inch long pieces
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons to 3 lemon juice
vegetable oil

1. Fry the onions in about 2 Tbsp. of oil over med/high heat till they are lightly golden. Add the meat, raise the heat to high and keep frying till all the juices are absorbed. If you want to add any garlic, it may be added at the same time as the meat.

2. When the juices are absorbed, add the spices (salt, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper) and fry for a minute or so (don't over fry). Add the canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer. If you use whole tomatoes, cut them into big chunks.

3. Add the lemon juice and simmer gently for about 2 hours, or till the meat is done to your satisfaction (fork tender). If the sauce looks too thin, add the 1 - 2 Tbsp. tomato paste to thicken it. If the sauce is too thick, add water as needed.

4. While the meat is simmering, prepare the green beans. Make sure they are clean and dry first. Fry them in 1 - 2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil over medium/high heat. Don't over fry the beans. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

5. When the meat is half way done, add the green beans and bring back to a simmer. When the meat is done to your satisfaction, the sauce should be thick.

6. Serve with hot basmatti rice.

* Of course you can use fresh tomatoes instead. Substitute about 2 pounds of skinless, seeded tomatoes.

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