Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, String Beans - Green Beans and Tomatoes

When I was a kid, I hated my grandmother's string beans.  She was such a good cook, why were the string beans so freaking awful?  Well, they were canned, but truthfully, I don't mind canned vegetables.  They were reheated within an inch of their life, but I like overcooked vegetables.  No, these were so damn bad I would pretend to eat them, stuffing my cheeks like a squirrel, head to the bathroom, and spit them out.  All those green beans, and their bad tasting, inedible strings.  Gack!

Since then, the strings have been bred right out of those beans by genius scientists who should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their contribution to eaters everywhere.  Now, either fresh or frozen, the appropriately renamed green beans are high on my favorite vegetable list.


I first found this green bean and tomato combination, called "Papa's Greek Beans" in a southern cook book by James Villas.  Since then, I've seen this pretty basic recipe all over the South, with and without bacon.  Since I was up to my elbows in pork belly at the time I was cooking the green beans, I decided to save the bacon for another day.  This is my bacon-free variation of the recipe:

1 pound frozen whole green beans, defrosted (I use Publix brand)
1 - 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes, original recipe
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste

Place the green beans in a medium pot.  Add the tomatoes with all of the juice, and the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  The green beans should be very soft.


Sorry the photo turned out so dark.  But you can still see how everything cooked down together so that all the flavors melded.  Nothing al dente here, I can assure you.  Crudit├ęs have their place, I suppose, but not on my dinner plate masquerading as a vegetable I'd be willing to eat.  I'm sure all my southern friends would agree.

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