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Culture Kitchen: Romania

Hi all! Thank you to those who joined us for our last Culture Kitchen! This past Monday we had the pleasure of featuring a guest chef from Romania. Alina walked us through how to make White Bean Dip, also known as Fasole Batuta in Romanian. The dip is very simple and uses low-cost ingredients, but the outcome is both creamy and delicious. The caramelized onion topping adds a touch of sweetness that perfectly compliments the flavor of the beans.

You can find the complete recipe below.



As Alina explained during the demonstration, many of the traditional dishes from Romania feature seasonal, low-cost ingredients. While under communist rule by Russia, the country experienced many food shortages, specifically with regards to bread/starch. Beans were more accessible, which is why this dish became a staple for many families. It is also nutritious, and can be made with basic kitchen tools such as a fork or a whisk.



Once again, thank you to Alina for sharing this dish and its history with us. We truly learned an incredible amount about Romanian culture while working together to make this delicious dip. If you want to learn another dish from around the world, make sure to keep an eye out for our next Culture Kitchen event coming up in May!


Ingredients

  • 3 ¼ cups white beans (cannellini or white northern), uncooked or cooked

  • 1-2 bay leaves (if cooking the beans)

  • ½ onion (if cooking the beans)

  • 1 onion, sliced into thin rings

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or more as desired

  • 2-3 garlic cloves to taste, grated

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (brown or white)

  • Fine salt

  • Sea salt

  • Water

  • Sweet or smoked paprika to taste (optional)


Steps

If your beans are from the can/already cooked, skip to step 5. You can save some of the canned water to adjust the dip's consistency if desired.

  1. Rinse beans a few times; soak them for at least 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Cook beans

    1. Pressure cooker method. Rinse beans, place them in the pressure cooker along with ½ onion and bay leaves, put in a generous amount of water to cover the beans, follow the instructions in the owner manual for your particular model of pressure cooker for cooking beans.

    2. Stove method. Rinse beans, place in a large pot or Dutch oven, cover with plenty of water, add the ½ onion and the bay leaves, bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 1 hour or until beans are soft. Cooking time will depend on the size and age of beans.

  3. Drain beans but keep approximately ½ cup of the cooking water which you can use to bring them to the desired consistency. You may end up not using it if you like the consistency the beans pureed with oil.

  4. Discard the onion and bay leaves.

  5. Let the beans cool slightly, place them in a food processor (or a bowl if using a blender/hand mixer/whisk/fork) with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

  6. Add the grated garlic and process/blend until smooth. Add more cooking oil, a tablespoon or so at a time until you get to the consistency of soft mashed potatoes or hummus. You can also add some of the reserved bean water if desired.

  7. Add salt to taste.


For the caramelized onions:

  1. Heat about 1/3 cup of oil in a large non stick pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 8-10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

  2. When the onions are golden, add the tomato paste, sugar, paprika and stir until well combined and slightly caramelized. Taste and add more paprika or salt if you’d like.

  3. Transfer the beans to a bowl or a serving platter and top with the onions.


Enjoy!!!



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