Avikas (White Bean and Beef Stew). Photo by Penny de Los Santos.
On Fridays in Levana Lowenstein’s home in Neve Monosson, there’s always a pot of avikas, a simple stew of beef, white kidney beans, onion, and tomato paste, simmering away on the stove. ״It’s a custom״ she says, among families with roots in Izmir, a city along Turkey’s Aegean coast. Follow Levana’s guidance: put a pot on and invite family (or friends) to stop by for a bowl.
½ cup white kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Place a large pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Season the meat with 1 teaspoon of salt. Once the oil is hot, place the pieces of meat into the pot and sear on all sides until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the chopped onions into the pot and saute, scraping the meat drippings on the bottom of the pot to incorporate. Saute the onions until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes until caramelized. Add the meat back into the pot. Add the beans, pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt into the pot. Cover with water and stir.
Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer. Add a lid slightly ajar and continue cooking the stew for about 1 hour and 30 minutes until the mixture cooks down into a stew like consistency and the beans and meat are tender.