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Lebanese Lamb and Bean Stew

['1 lb dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed', '2 lb boneless lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes', '1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baharat* or 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick', '9 cups water', '2 tablespoons olive oil', '2 medium onions, chopped', '4 garlic cloves, finely chopped', '2 teaspoons salt', '3/4 teaspoon black pepper', '3 tablespoons tomato paste', 'Accompaniments: spiced basmati rice better-than-pita grill bread']

Cover beans with cold water by 3 inches in a bowl and soak at room temperature at least 8 hours. Drain well in a colander.
Bring lamb, baharat, and water (9 cups) to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot, then vigorously simmer mixture, covered, until meat is almost tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Add beans and cook, uncovered, until beans are tender, about 1 hour more. Meanwhile, heat oil over moderate heat in a 12-inch heavy skillet until hot but not smoking, then cook onions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring, until onions are pale golden and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. When beans are tender, stir in tomato-onion mixture and simmer until just heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
*A Middle Easterna and African ground-spice mixture that typically contains allspice, cinnamon, clove, cumin, Maras chile, and black pepper. Available at Middle Eastern markets and Formaggio Kitchen (888-212-3224; formaggiokitchen.com).

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