If I were a vegetarian, I would eat this dish over and over and never miss the meat. Green beans are beginning to find their way to the Farmer’s Market now and, if you’re lucky, the farmers will have already trimmed them for you. If not, it’s an excellent activity to enjoy while having a cocktail or two.
So, the problem with podcast repeats is that sometimes they will tease a recipe and send you to the website to get it. And it’s not there anymore. That is what happened to me as I was listening to a repeat of The Splendid Table, which I am devoted to. The method for doing these green beans comes from the show’s host, Lynne Rossetto Kasper. I searched for hours on the Splendid Table website (okay, 10 minutes) and couldn’t find the recipe. So I made it up.
This is a recipe you can play with. Change the spices, use canned tomatoes without chiles. Just stick to the basic technique, which is to brown the beans with some onion, add vinegar and wine and reduce it to nothing. Then add the tomatoes and their juice, simmer and then reduce again. Reducing all those liquids just intensifies the flavor. And I can tell you from experience, that eaten cold the next day as a salad does not hurt this recipe one bit.
Middle Eastern green beans
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces
½ onion, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon chile powder
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dry red wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the green beans, onion, salt and pepper. Saute until the beans and onions begin to brown. Add the chile powder, allspice and paprika. Saute for about a minute. Add the vinegar and wine and cook until the liquid has reduced and disappeared. Add the can of tomatoes with its juice. The beans should be barely covered in liquid. Add water if necessary.
Reduce heat so the beans are barely simmering, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the beans are tender. Remove cover and turn heat to medium high. Cook off excess liquid until the sauce is thick.