Barbunya is a very common and popular olive oil dish (which is cooked always/only with olive oil and served cold) in Turkey. Delicious fresh barbunya beans appear in farmer’s markets in midsummer. What people usually do is to buy large amounts of barbunyas, pod them, and then keep them in the freezer for the winter. Fresh barbunyas are always preferred to dried ones. However, since it’s impossible to find fresh barbunyas here in the States, I learned to love dried barbunyas. After years of uncertainty and confusion I am finally positive that barbunyas are roman / red beans.
If you cannot find barbunya (roman) beans, you can try the same recipe with pinto beans, which look exactly like barbunyas. Pintos taste different than barbunyas, but still may surprise you with this recipe.
2 cups of dried barbunya beans
2 big fresh tomatoes diced or 1 can petite diced tomato
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 green (preferably banana) peppers, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, cut in rounds or half rounds
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp sugar
2 cups hot water
1/2 bunch parsley, leaves coarsely chopped.
-Soak barbunyas in water over night and before cooking boil until soft, approximately for an hour. If you have a pressure cooker you don’t need to soak them overnight; pressure-cook dried barbunyas for 35 minutes. Drain and rinse
-Heat oil in a big pot. Add onions, garlic, and green peppers. Stir for 4-5 minutes
-Add the carrots and cook until carrots get kind of soft.
-Add the tomatoes and cook until they turn darker red (basically until they’re cooked).
-Add barbunyas and stir for 5 mins. Add salt, sugar, and water. Turn down the heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes
-Garnish with parsley and lemon slices
You can try it warm, but Barbunya like all Turkish olive oil dishes is served and best when it’s cold.
Squeeze lemon juice on barbunyas before you eat.
PS: Most people use potato (one, peeled and diced added with carrots) when they cook barbunyas, but I prefer not to.