Romanian fasole frecata (mashed beans)
1 pound dried Great Northern or Navy beans
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2 onions, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 to 3 cups chopped turnips, parsnips, rutabaga or carrots, optional
1 pound bacon or 1/2 pound diced ham
1 to 2 onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon paprika, optional
Makes 8 servings.
Rinse beans and put in a stockpot with enough water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then add coarsely chopped onion, garlic and salt and pepper and additional vegetables if using. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1 to 2 hours, until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally. Check to see if additional water is needed to keep beans from sticking.
When beans are almost done, saute bacon or ham with the finely chopped onion in a frying pan until onions are nicely brown. Crumble the bacon into pieces and return to the pan and keep warm.
Drain the beans and reserve any liquid. Push through a strainer or puree in a food processor or blender, adding some of the cooking liquid if mixture seems too dry. Place in serving dish and spoon the sauteed onion and meat on top. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 317 calories (21 percent from fat), 7.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 3 g monounsaturated), 30.7 mg cholesterol, 22.4 g protein, 41.7 g carbohydrates, 15.8 g fiber, 976.1 mg sodium.
Write to Linda Cicero at email@example.com or c/o Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Questions of general interest are answered in the column.