Flat beans stew, or our Romano bean recipe, is a beloved Bosnian stew that goes by boranija in the region. The pairing of buttery Romano beans and tender meat is a fantastic flavorsome fusion. Shall we?
I've been spoiled growing up eating Balkan cuisine. (Don't believe me? Try ajvar, sarma, burek, tufahije, and pogacha, then report back!)
One of these blessings has been the flat bean stew, known in the region as boranija (buranija). Moreover, this stew is all about tender, succulent beef chunks, soft potatoes and carrots, and of course, the glorious flat bean.
Flat beans are runner or pod beans and can be harvested from spring to fall. (They love the sun and water!) Also, like green beans, flat beans are cooked as whole pods.
And what a versatile plant they are! You can use them for cold salads, cook them in stews, bake bean sides, and serve them alongside fish, chicken, and beef.
If you're wondering what the flat bean tastes like it has a soft buttery composition that melts in your mouth. Oh, and it elegantly adapts to the flavors that surround it. The taste, and that refined flat and wide shape, make these everyone's favorite pods around!
In addition to the name flat beans, these pods also go by:
- Romano beans
- flat green beans (somewhat a misnomer because they also come in yellow, purple, white with purple streaks, and more)
- long flat beans
- Italian flat beans
- Italian flat green beans
- Marvel of Venice beans
- runner beans
- pole beans
- sem fhali
- boranija (buranija)
- helda beans
What's more, after today you'll call them the best beans you ever tried! Because once you try flat beans, you'll never look at regular green beans the same way.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make our Romano beans recipe (boranija).
- Flat beans (Romano beans): look for young flat beans, those that have been harvested early on. The most flavorful ones are the thick, meaty kind with small, unripe beans inside.
Older Romano beans are tough, take longer to cook, and are "stringy." (Bean pods are held together by a fibrous string that runs along the length of the pod. In old beans, this string becomes almost like floss - you don't want this!)
How to recognize a young flat bean? It'll be shiny, and when you snap it in half it'll make a crunchy sound. (Old beans are matt, bendy, and can have brown spots!)
(Take a look at handling instructions if you're using frozen Romano beans.)
Finally, avoid canned Romano beans.
- Meat: stew chuck, beef chuck, chuck steak, rump steak, tenderloin, sirloin, and veal all work really well. Adjust the cooking time based on the meat's toughness: shorter for veal and longer for tougher chuck pieces. Avoid: ground beef.
- Potatoes: today's flat beans and potato soup is best made when with Russett or Yukon gold potatoes. Dice small.
Here are the stovetop instructions for this Romano beans stew (boranija).
Step 1. Heat up oil and sauté onion, garlic, and carrots until translucent. Add meat, ½ cup of broth, and sauté for an additional 10 minutes.
Step 2. Add paprika, tomato paste and sugar, Romano beans, and another cup of water (broth). Stir well, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 3. Add potatoes, bay leaf, and the remaining water (broth). Lower temp, cover the pot ⅔ of the way and cook for 60 minutes. (Optionally) garnish with parsley.
Serving: serve warm with a slice of homemade bread (or mini breads)
Storing: store in a refrigerator for 2-3 days. (The stew is actually tastiest the day after it's made.) When ready to eat, reheat using your preferred method, and add a little bit of broth or liquid if necessary.
Freezing Stew: (Don't freeze if you've used frozen beans to make the stew! Beans can only be frozen once!) Cool the stew down completely, then portion it out into your freezer ware. Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw it on the counter for an hour, then slowly warm the stew up. Add more liquid if necessary.
Freezing Beans: You can also blanch and freeze the Romano (flat) bean for later use.
Clean the flat beans and cut the ends off, then dice into 3-4 inch pieces. Blanch for about 2 minutes in boiling water, then strain and let cool down. Finally, dry with a kitchen towel and transfer to your freezer ware.
Keep frozen beans in your freezer for up to 2 years. When ready to use, simply take it out of the freezer and let thaw on the counter for a little bit. Alternatively, add the beans directly to the meat in the pan and continue cooking.
Romano beans, when prepared well, taste exquisite. They have a buttery soft composition and taste light and slightly sweet. They also have a tendency to pick up the flavors around them as well.
Flat beans can be prepared and eaten in many different ways.
You can cook them, blanch and then bake them, ferment them or steam them. Our recipe is a flat bean stew where flat beans are cooked together with juicy beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Another great recipe we have on the site is a flat bean casserole, where Romano beans are blanched, then baked in butter, cream and garlic.
No. Green beans are of a different variety. Flat beans are long, flat, and wide, whereas green beans are usually sturdier, and thinner and their beans are more round.
Flat beans come in a variety of colors. Some of the best-known kinds are green, yellow, purple, and white with purple streaks.
No. Flat beans are also known as Romano beans, flat green beans, runner, or pole beans. Broad beans are also known as fava beans. The confusion stems from the name, as flat beans are sometimes called wide beans due to their long and wide shape.
Stew and Soup Ideas
- Bosnian Veal Sauce (Sitni Ćevap) - tender, juicy, meat sauce great over rice, quinoa, pasta, polenta... you name it!
- Potato Soup - sometimes all a person wants is a good, warm, potato soup with a few ingredients, cooked on the stovetop.
- Dive Bar Veal Stew - this is the perfect cure for a hangover if we ever saw one!
- Chicken Paprikash - if you love chicken, you'll love our authentic paprikash.
- Instant Pot Bean Stew - one of the best Balkan stews ever!
- Meat Minestrone - Minestrone styled soup with some ground beef makes this a great wintery stew.
- Bosnian pot stew (bosanski lonac) - classic Bosnian stew with two, sometimes three, types of meat and a bunch of veggies.
If you make today's Romano or flat beans stew (boranija) and enjoy it, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5-star) rating. This will help others find the recipe more easily!
You can also leave a comment, I read EVERY one! Finally, if IG is more your thing, consider tagging us @balkanlunchbox.
Prijatno and bon appetit!
Flat Beans Stew (Boranija)
- 3-4 ounces vegetable oil or coconut, sunflower
- 1 onion large, minced
- 1-2 carrots large, peeled, diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- (Optional) dry celery to taste
- 1 pound beef chuck or stew chuck, chuck steak, tenderloin, veal; diced
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1-1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 pounds Romano beans ends cut off pods, pods quartered
- 1-1.5 pounds potatoes (about 2-3 large potatoes) Russett or Yukon gold; peeled, diced small
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-5 cups warm water or beef broth*
- (Optional) parsley to taste
- In a large pot heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Sauté and stir until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add meat and seasonings and sauté for an additional 10 minutes. Add ½ cup of water (or broth) while sautéing.
- Add paprika, tomato paste and sugar, Romano beans, and another cup of water (broth). Stir well, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes, bay leaf, and the remaining water (broth). Bring the temperature down to low, cover the pot ⅔ of the way, and let the stew cook for another hour. (Optional) Garnish with parsley.
- Serve warm. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. (The stew is actually tastiest the day after it's made.) When ready to eat, reheat using your preferred method, and add a little bit of broth or liquid if necessary. Freezing: don't freeze the stew! However, you can blanch and freeze the flat bean. (Detailed instructions in text.)
Hi Aida and Aleksandra! I was actually searching for the other Romano bean recipe on your site when I came across this one instead. I hadn’t seen it until today so I thought I’d give it a try and I’m so glad I did! It was delicious! It’s not easy to find Romano beans in my area but I did find an ethnic food store that has them from time to time. I didn’t have veal or sirloin so I used a beef chuck roast, which is a tougher cut of meat. I followed the directions through step 3 and left it to cook on the stove covered for about an hour and a half before continuing with the remaining ingredients and adding the beans. I then added some water and put the entire pot (I used a Dutch oven) in a 300 degree oven and left it there for another hour and a half. I also left out the potatoes because I didn’t have any. It came out perfectly and my husband said it tasted just like the one he ate in Bosnia. We had it with a fresh loaf of bread and a salad. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!