Green beans braised in olive oil with onions and tomatoes are a popular vegetable dish in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean and Turkey. It couldn’t be more simple but this method of cooking, surprisingly transforms the beans into some quite delectable (despite their rustic look).
The humble green bean, a bit like cauliflower, cooked right can be a revelation. Cooked wrong it so insipid you could easily make a declaration to never eat a green bean again in your life.
One of my favourite ways to eat green beans, is substitute them in my okra in coconut recipe. Served with rice and meat curry, they are wonderful. I also like green beans served as a salad with a dressing you whizz up with olive oil, walnutst, dill, parsley, green onions (scallions) and white wine vinegar – excellent with a BBQ or part of a mezze/tapas.
As for the beans, Continental flat beans work well in this recipe (see pic). I’ve also make it with normal string beans – just depends on what I can find in the market.
I also find that the carrot is a key ingredient. It breaks down and imbibes the dish with a sweetness that marries perfectly with the beans.
500g green beans, topped and tailed
1 brown onion
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and roughly diced
5 cherry tomatoes (or 4 tinned tomatoes)
½-1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1. In a saucepan large enough to fit the beans, put olive oil, onion and garlic in the pan. Place on medium heat 1-2 mins until onion is fragrant.
2. Add a good pinch of salt and the carrots – fry for about 10 mins, stirring often so that the carrots soften and the onion starts to break down. Reduce heat slightly if browning starts to occur.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
4. Add the beans and stir to coat with the onion, carrot mix. Add ½ cup water and put lid on the saucepan. Reduce heat and slowly braise until the beans are meltingly tender. Stir occasionally. You may need to add a bit more water while cooking depending on how much moisture is in the beans. Cooking time will largely depend on the beans, around 20-40mins.
5. Add 1 tsp sea salt and stir through and taste. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Place lid on saucepan and leave for 5mins.
6. Serve beans at room temperature.
Serves 4 as a side dish.