I grew up eating this Green Beans Stew. It is a typical homemade soup across many Mediterranean countries. There are countless variations out there in ingredients and seasonings used. In Albania we called it Gjelle me Mashurka or Gjelle me Bishtaja. I don’t think we ever used a recipe for this dish. It’s such a staple dish that everyone just improvises a bit while cooking it:)Jump to Recipe
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Meat for Green Beans Stew
In Albania you can find this dish cooked with either Beef or Lamb. When I cooked this recipe for the blog, I did cook it with beef but feel free to try it with lamb if that is your favorite. Both types of stew taste delicious.
Seasonings for Green Beans Stew
In Albania we mostly used oregano, parsley, paprika, dill and the usual salt/pepper for this stew. The quantities vary one from one household to the next. Other countries use also coriander, cinnamon, mix of spices, mint etc.
Serve this Green Beans Stew with a side or rice, salad and of course warm / toasted bread. It’s typical for home cooked stew to be served with bread in my home country. In a home setting, people would clean the plate at the end with the last bite of bread and that was the best bite:).
- See recipe notes below for more details but I tend to saute meat in oil then add onions and other vegetables slowly and keep sauteing. However, you can saute them separately and bring everything together.
- Meat has to be cut in chunks. Most grocery stores meat department offer the option of either pre-cut meat for stew or you pick a large piece of meat you like and they’ll cut it for you right there and then. I like this because I don’t like cutting it myself.
- Green beans take about 20 minutes to cook, however if they’re too dry they might need few extra minutes. Taste at the ends to make sure everything is cooked and you can leave the stew cook for more minutes until everything is ready.
- My mom taught me a method when I was young to make the stew more creamy. So if the stew requires 2 cups of water, initially I would add 1 cup and then add the 2nd cup slowly little by little on the sides of the pot. I have done both ways, add 2 cups right away or 1 cup first then the 2nd cup slowly. Sometimes I don’t have enough time so I add the water right away. Feel free to try both methods and let me know if you notice the difference.
- You can use chopped parsley to decorate at the end.
- In the Mediterranean there are several varieties of green beans, not just the string ones. However, here in Miami I usually see only 1 type of green bean. This recipe instructions are based on the string green beans, but if you are using another variety keep in mind that you might have to adjust cooking time by few minutes.
Green Beans Stew
- 1 lb stew beef
- 1.5 lbs green beans
- 2 medium size onions
- 2 medium potatoes
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 0.5 tsp paprika
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 2 cups water
- Clean the green beans by cutting the ends and cutting in half if they're too long. Rinse and place in a bowl. Chop the onions in small cubes and put them aside. Peel the potatoes and place them in a bowl of water so they don't get dark.
- Add oil in a large pot in medium-high heat. Start sauteing the meat chunks (see recipe tips on how to pick the correct meat and cut). Use a wooden spoon to mix often so the meat is sauteed evenly on all sides until it gets a brown color or a darker coat without letting it burn.
- Once the meat is cooked on all sides, add the onions and continue sauteing them together until the onions get translucent. (see recipe notes below for another sauteing option).
- Blend the tomatoes into a pulp and pour over the meat and onions once onions are translucent. Lower heat from medium-high to medium and stirr well so everything is mixed.
- At this point add the spices: tomato paste, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix everything well and allow for flavors to blend.
- While the mix starts to boil, add potato chunks. Cut the potatoes you had in water in big chunks. I personally prefer big chunks, but if you prefer them in cubes you can do that too. Be careful that that takes a little more time so plan accordingly.
- Add 2 cups of water and stirr. Once everything starts to boil cover the pot and let the meat cook with everything else for about 10-15 minutes.
- Then add the green beans and let cook for about 20 more minutes. Add more water as needed to get the stew in your desired consistency. Towards the end, taste and adjust for salt and spices.
- Serve in a soup bowl. Warm or toasted bread is a must as a side to this stew. You can add other side dishes as desired.
- Meat has to be in chunks. My grocery stores already sells packages of meat for stew. But if you can’t buy it already cut then I would buy the meat and cut it in 1-2 inch cubes.
- My family’s tradition in sauteing was that we saute the meat in olive oil then add the vegetables one by one and keep sauteing slowly. It’s a great method but I also remember I burnt lunch few times as a teenagers because I couldn’t get the timing right. So if you’re afraid you won’t get the timing right, then saute the meat well and place on a plate, cover up. Then in same pot saute onions, tomatoes and other vegetables as needed. Add the meat back in once you are done.
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Other Albanian Stews (gjelle):
If you would like to check out some other Albanian stews / soups, please see below links:
- Albanian Meat & Potatoes Stew (Gjelle me mish dhe patate)
- Instant Pot Albanian Bean Soup (Fasule)
- Mediterranean Green Peas Stew (Gjelle me bizele)