Monday, August 23, 2010

Best Basic Green Beans

So here's something you don't know about me. I don't love vegetables. I really want to say that I do. But I can't say that and still claim to be a (mostly) honest person. However, eating vegetables makes my body feel better. So I try my best to have a good relationship with them.

Enter the green bean. I can count the number of times I've had a well prepared green bean on one hand. Growing up, my mother used canned green beans which are mushy and salty. My grandmother boiled fresh ones until they looked like green worms. And restaurants barely steam them so that they can't even claim to be cooked and have zero flavor. So for a long time I viewed them as just another veggie that I had to tolerate. Until I tried this recipe. I call it Best Basic Green Beans.

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I actually like these. I eat them without that "veggie face" that you see on small children trying lima beans for the first time. They are fresh tasting, slightly crunchy, and made with bacon. Bacon makes everything better, don't you think? Now, if you're a vegetarian or vegan, you can certainly substitute olive oil for the bacon fat in this recipe. And you can really use any frozen veggie you want, if you don't like green beans. Asparagus would be great here as well. I use the frozen veggies because they're really just as good as fresh, available year round, and you don't have to snap them. If you've ever wasted a whole Saturday at Grandma's house snapping beans you totally get the appeal to the frozen.

On to the recipe:

Best Basic Green Beans

1 bag frozen green beans
4 strips uncooked bacon, cut into bite size pieces
2 shallots or 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced, chopped, minced however you like
2 cloves of garlic, minced 
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a medium skillet cook the bacon pieces until just crispy.  Remove the cooked bacon pieces to a paper towel lined dish leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
  • Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan and cook until softened, or until caramelized if you prefer.
  • Add the bag of frozen green beans to the pan.  Be careful as the oil may spatter when the frozen beans are added.  Stir the beans continuously.  You don't want them to burn.  How long you cook them here is up to you.  If you like them barely cooked and crunchy you'll only cook them a few minutes.  If you like them softer you'll cook them longer.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Taste the beans as you go to determine their doneness.  
  • When cooked through remove from the heat, toss with the bacon pieces and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

If you give these a try let me know how they come out for you.  Happy eating!

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