Thursday, August 30, 2018

Skillet Green Beans

Fresh green beans, quickly skillet blanched, then stir fried with sweet onion, garlic, a hint of brown sugar and herbs.
Fresh green beans, quickly skillet blanched, then stir fried with sweet onion, garlic, a hint of brown sugar and herbs.

Skillet Green Beans

I love green beans. They're easy to grow, but even if you don't grow them, they're readily available and reasonable, and you can even buy them in the middle of winter these days. It's one of the few vegetables The Cajun will eat, so we eat them in one form or another pretty often.

As to cooking them, let's face the truth here. If you are from the south, you, probably, like me, aren't super fond of crispy green beans, unless, of course they are battered and fried. You, like me, likely rather love the slow-stewed green beans that cook down forever.

Sometimes they are referred to down here as "cooked to death" beans, and some folks boil them until there is no semblance of their original color. They are so tender and flavorful because, after slow stewing in the juices for hours, they absorb so much flavor from the pork seasoning, that they are the most delicious thing in the world. You can set a pot of those down in front of me and I literally can make a meal out of the whole pot, especially if there are some tiny new potatoes thrown in and some cornbread somewhere close by.

As I reshare my posts from time to time on Facebook, I actually get accused that my photo could not have been slow stewed beans, because they were too green still! That's because although I do let them stew for a long time, I don't let them boil. Lots of folks do quite literally boil them to death, which of course boils the color right out of them, leaving them a very pale, almost gray color. I don't do that. Just a nice little simmer works for me.

Those are definitely my favorite, but, every once in awhile, I like to prepare my green beans a little different. I have what I call the "quick fix" version that I fix most often when I don't have time for slow stewing, but I also love them prepared in the skillet, sort of like a stir fry. Here's how to make them.

I picked up a package of Marketside green beans from Walmart, which was a 12 ounce bag and what I wrote the recipe for. You can certainly make this recipe for more or less. Snap beans in half and rinse. Bring 1 inch water and 2 tablespoons salt to boil in large skillet. Add green beans, cover and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and return beans to skillet, cover with cold water and some ice cubes to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain and set aside.


Heat cooking oil in skillet, add onion and cook until browned. Add garlic, cook another minute. Return green beans to skillet and cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, brown sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes if using, toss and stir another 2 minutes and turn out onto serving platter.


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Recipe: Skillet Green Beans

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min

Total time: 25 min
Yield: About 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 12 ounce package fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat, butter or other cooking oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste, optional
Instructions

Snap beans in half and rinse. Bring 1 inch water and 2 tablespoons salt to boil in large, deep skillet. Add green beans, cover and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and return to skillet, cover with cold water and some ice cubes to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain and set aside.

Heat cooking oil in skillet, add onion and cook until browned. Add garlic, cook another minute. Return green beans to skillet and cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes. Scoot beans to the outside of skillet, turn up to high, stir in the water, brown sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes (or cayenne), toss and stir another 2 minutes and turn out onto serving platter.

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