Loubia - لوبية

handful of white beans (soaked overnight)
2 onions  (thinly sliced)
Chicken (1 piece per person, I used a large breast for 2 people)
Garlic (1 small head, peeled and crushed)
1/2 cup oil (I used sunflower)
1 large spoon of tomato paste
1/2 spoon of harissa (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
dash of black pepper and salt
1/2 preserved lemon
handful of black olives
1 Hot green pepper (sliced lengthwise)

Boil white beans in a small pot until nearly finished (mine took about 30 minutes).
In the mean time put oil in a large cooking pot and brown the chicken.  
Add onion and garlic and cook until caramelized.  
Mix in tomato paste and harissa.   Stir until tomato paste has "opened" a bit.
Season with a dash of black pepper and salt and let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour about 3 cups of water over everything and cover with a lid.  Let it work its magic for about 45 minutes until everything has reduced to a nice sauce.  (There should still be some water, about the consistency of tomato soup.)
Once the white beans have nearly finished on their own add to the pot and let boil for another 15-20 minutes.  
As soon as the beans have finished cooking (they should be tender, but don't let them overcook and melt into the sauce) remove from heat and add lemon, olives, and green pepper.  Let it all mingle together for about 10 minutes and then serve with a crusty baguette.

In this case I served my loubia with a cucumber salad.  The fresh veggies (and touch of mint) are a great accompaniment with the spicy sauce.  The recipe takes a lot of cook time, but does almost all the work on its own.


  1. What does it mean for the tomato paste to "open?"

  2. You want the tomato paste to loosen up. It should thin out as you heat and stir.


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