Friday, April 22, 2011

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

Green beans quickly blanched, then tossed in a sweet and sour mix of vinegar and sugar, a few seasonings and bacon, make up this old fashioned spicy, tangy dish.

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

You're either gonna love these or hate them, but then again, if you've ever even heard of them, well... ya probably already know that! Another old fashioned dish, spicy and tangy, sweet and sour, I find them absolutely addictive. The more I eat, the more I want.

I love a good pot of slow stewed green beans, but some Southerners literally boil the death out of them, until they are barely green and mostly gray really, and frankly lots of folks still do love them that way. Trust me. There is a world of difference in slow stewing and boiled to death. For this recipe, I like to blanch them just to a crisp tender and then toss them in the hot vinegar sauce to warm them through. That way they retain just a bit of crunch and their pretty bright green color.

I think this recipe is best with whole green beans, and until fresh garden beans come in, I like to use frozen. You can use pretty much any kind of green bean though - the flat Italian style green beans work great for this dish, as do French style, and even plain ole cut green beans. In a pinch canned green beans work, but try to go with frozen over canned if possible.

This is a fairly mild sweet and sour blend of 1/4 cup of sugar to 1/4 cup of vinegar so these aren't as pickled tasting as say, the Copper Pennies Marinated Carrot Salad that I recently posted. You can, of course, certainly adjust the sweet to tangy ratio to your own taste by using more or less vinegar and sugar. My preference for this dish is red wine vinegar, though you can absolutely use your own favorite. I also used the fabulous Slap Ya Mama hot pepper sauce.

At the time of writing, I had fresh basil growing in the garden, but not tarragon, so I wrote the recipe that way. Use what you have access to however, making the adjustments as needed between dry and fresh herbs. Remember to also taste and adjust the salt and pepper at the end, before transferring to a serving dish. Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Green Beans

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 10 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound fresh whole green beans
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, reserving 2 slices for garnish
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet or yellow onion, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • Couple dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Couple dashes hot pepper sauce, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the beans. Bring back up to a boil and boil for about a minute or two, or to desired tenderness. Drain and transfer the beans to the ice water bath. This stops the cooking process and also helps to retain the pretty green color. Leave in the water bath until fully cooled; drain and set aside.

Cook to crisp; remove, set aside. When cool, chop, but reserve two slices to the side to add as a garnish. Add onion to the pan drippings and cook until lightly caramelized. Add the sugar and vinegar to the skillet; stir. Season with the mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tarragon, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring until well blended; add the chopped bacon. Stir, reduce heat and hold over low simmer if necessary, otherwise, add the green beans and gently toss, cooking just long enough to warm through. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Chop the reserved slices of bacon, transfer the beans to a serving bowl and garnish with the chopped bacon. Just before serving, give the beans another toss to coat them in the sweet and sour sauce pooled on the bottom.

Cook's Notes: I like red wine vinegar, but try these beans using your own favorite vinegar. Can also adjust sugar, vinegar and seasonings to your liking. May substitute frozen green beans; skip the blanching process.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on April 22, 2011

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