Bonus Sunday cooking adventures: Green beans with shallots and garlic


We eat a lot of green beans in our house. Usually I buy them frozen but today I took the time to prepare fresh ones. If you’re new to cooking, cut or pull off the stem end that was connected to the plant, but you don’t have to remove the other end, which will save you some time. Then rinse the beans. Bring a big pot of water to boil (the more water, the better), and put the beans in the boiling water. Return to a boil and cook the beans until they are almost al dente. You can test them with a fork (it only takes a few minutes.)

When the beans are done cooking, plunge them into a bowl of ice water. It sets the color before you go on with the rest of the recipe.

The shallots and garlic make these green beans feel special. I finish them off with beef broth. The longer you let them simmer when you’ve combined all the ingredients, the better. They take on the flavor of your grandmother’s beans. There is very little salt involved and a small amount of fat. I cooked about 1-1/2 pounds of beans and to that added one tablespoon of olive oil and a little butter, one tablespoon, for flavor.  I don’t often use butter to cook, but the beans needed it. You could also add hot pepper flakes, about 1/4 teaspoon, which will boost the flavor. Thyme, the bean herb, is good in these, too.

Great for a Sunday dinner, and even better the next day for lunch.

Green beans with shallots and garlic

About 1-1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, picked and rinsed
3 shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup of low-sodium beef broth

In a large bowl, combine 2-3 trays of ice and cold water (enough to hold the beans when they are done). Set aside.

Bring a big pot of water to boil on high heat (the more water, the better). Carefully place the beans in the boiling water. Return to a boil and cook the beans until they are al dente. Drain. Then plunge the cooked beans into the large bowl of ice water you prepared earlier. After beans have cooled, drain again. Don’t leave them in the water too long.

Place a large skillet (enough to hold the beans) on medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Heat until butter is melted. Add onions, garlic and hot red pepper flakes if using, and stir until shallots become almost translucent. Add green beans and black pepper and combine. Add beef broth. Reduce heat to simmer, cover with lid, and cook until flavors have combined, about 30 minutes, or longer if you like your beans cooked more well done.

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