Bean Stew with Lamb or "Masheh," is a popular dish in the Middle East. Beans are simmered with lamb or beef in a tomato-based stew, until tender. This stew is usually served over a plate of vermicelli rice, or with bread.
When I was younger, one of my favorite foods was this bean stew.
I can still remember coming home from school and trying to guess what was for dinner based on the aroma coming from the kitchen. I was always excited when Masheh was on the menu!
I'm not sure why I don't cook this bean stew more often, but it's probably because I'm always on a diet, counting carbs, and avoiding rice like the plague.
Today I decided to live a little; I invite you to do the same. After all, life is too short to never eat your favorite food!
How to Make This Recipe
Wash and pick over the beans, getting rid of any foreign matter. Add the beans to a large bowl and cover with cold water.
Add oil to the Instant pot or pressure cooker bowl and select "saute." Add meat and brown on all sides.
Add diced onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes longer. Then mix in the paprika.
Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Stir the tomato paste in two cups of hot water to dissolve, then mix in the salt and cayenne pepper.
Pour the tomato sauce over the beans along with 6 additional cups of water. Stir to combine. Cover with the lid and set the vent to "seal."
Select "high pressure" and set the timer to 60 minutes. When the time is up, choose "quick release." Stir the bean stew/Masheh before serving.
The night prior to making this stew, pick over the beans, getting rid of any foreign matter. Add the beans to a large bowl and completely cover with water. Set aside until the next day.
Rinse meat under running water, and drain. Add to a six-quart Dutch oven. Strain the beans and add to the same pot.
Cover with six cups of water and bring to a boil, uncovered. When foam rises to the surface, pour the contents of the pot in a strainer.
Rinse the meat and beans, and place back into the pot. Add seven cups of water. Cover, and cook over low heat, for 1-½ hours.
Meanwhile, add the oil to a medium-sized pan, and sauté the diced onion until soft and translucent.
Add paprika, cayenne, and tomato paste to the saucepan. Stir in approximately one cup of water. Set aside until the beans are ready.
Once the beans and meat have cooked for an hour and a half, stir in the contents of the pan. Add the salt and garlic. Cover and cook over low heat for an additional 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
The longer you cook the stew, the better it will taste!
How To Serve Bean Stew
Bean stew is traditionally served with either plain white rice, or Vermicelli Rice.
You will always find a bowl of "jilaleh" or "herbs" at any Assyrian table. Herbs like mint, basil, parsley, and cilantro are included in this bowl.
Besides herbs, scallions, radishes, and cucumbers are also added to the mix. It is customary to eat this mix along with the main meal.
Pickles are also served alongside most meals. Besides rice, you can also tear chunks of bread or "Samoon" and add them to a bowl, then smother with the stew.
Of course, if you are watching your carbs, I don't recommend that option. Simply eat the bowl of stew by itself.
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Assyrian Bean Stew with Lamb (Masheh)
- 1 lb. lamb or beef (cut into 2"-3" chunks)
- 1 16 oz. bag great northern beans
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you can handle it)
- 1 6 oz. tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cloves garlic (sliced)
Instant pot/Pressure Cooker Instructions
- Wash and pick over the beans, getting rid of any foreign matter. Add the beans to a large bowl and cover with cold water.
- Add oil to the Instant pot or pressure cooker bowl and select "saute." Add meat and brown on all sides.
- Add diced onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes longer. Then mix in the paprika.
- Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Stir the tomato paste in two cups of hot water to dissolve, then mix in the salt and cayenne pepper.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the beans along with 6 additional cups of water. Stir to combine. Cover with the lid and set the vent to "seal."
- Select "high pressure" and set the timer to 60 minutes. When the time is up, choose "quick release." Stir the meat stew before serving.
- Stovetop directions are in the body of the blog post above.
Nahrain Zia says
I made this stew last night and it was superb. My husband was very impressed with not only the taste, but how perfectly cooked the beans were and also how tender the lamb was. The combination of spices used were as per the recipe and it was perfect!
Thank you so much for coming back to review the recipe. I really appreciate it! I'm so glad you both enjoyed it. Naneelokhoon.🤗
Love your recipes
Thank you so much, Sandra! I really appreciate your feedback. I guess I'll keep doing what I'm doing! 😘
Hello Hilda, I was thinking of what to cook and googled Assyrian food which is what I usually do when I'm stuck. I am married to a handsome Assyrian (from Iraq) for 24 yrs and have three beautiful boys ( all typical Tiyare like their Dad) and one amazing girl. It's cold in Sydney today and was tossing up between Iraqi curry or masheh, after scrolling through your recipes I have decided on beans since I haven't made it for a few weeks. It was the bowl of herbs that had me sold, my husband will only have white or brown onions with radish and a mix of herbs.
I remember the first time I stumbled across your website many years ago. Still love it!
Hi, thanks for stopping by! Hope dinner was a success, I love masheh. I appreciate your comments! Have a wonderful day. 🙂
Donna Youhanaie Gregory says
I used to be married to an Assyrian from Iran. I learned how to make some delicious recipes so I really enjoy your contribution. I’ve made hareesa many times but instead of barley, I use oatmeal and no lamb. Always top with coriander and butter...yummmm
Hi Donna, Thanks for your comment! I've never heard of using oatmeal instead of barley before, that's very interesting. There are some slight differences in the way food is prepared between Iraqi Assyrians and Assyrians from Iran. Although my mom was born in Iran, she grew up in Iraq, so most of our food has an Iraqi influence. Delicious either way!