Showing posts with label green beans with shallots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label green beans with shallots. Show all posts

15 November 2014

Vegetable Side Dishes, Part Two

Sautéed Apples and Carrots with Roasted Pecans
We have no real Thanksgiving traditions at our house. Last year was a big family event, with everyone bringing a specialty. One year the entire family went out for dinner. A few times we've traveled on that weekend, enjoying wonderful dinners at urban restaurants in other cities, with just a few family members joining us.

But somehow the humble little dinners we've had alone are my favorites. This year, because of my recent back injury, that's what we'll do: An unfussy dinner at home.

One thing I do like on my table each November: Green beans.

Here's my favorite option:

Green Beans Amandine with Shallots: This dish works best with fresh green beans, but frozen will do in a pinch. It pairs well with everything, from turkey to ham, from beef to fish.

I love shallots with green beans. The mild flavors compliment each other. Add something else, something a little richer, maybe and you've got a dish that happily accompanies turkey with all the trimmings:
Green Beans with Shallots and Pancetta.

A full turkey or ham dinner demands the addition of a tart or sweet side dish, too. Cranberry sauce, or even applesauce are contenders. But this dish, along with green beans, is really a spectacular option: Sweet, tart and nutty:

Sautéed Apples and Carrots with Roasted Pecans. I love this. I think it's the best thing I've ever done with apples. It's easy, too, and like the green bean dishes above, you can make it ahead of time and reheat it. In my experiences, most dishes improve after the flavors have time to marry.

10 February 2014

New! Green Beans Amandine with Shallots

Green beans have a reputation as a vegetable most people can tolerate. They are fairly bland, which may be why they are often drowned in cream of mushroom soup and smothered in onion rings for holiday dinner.

Not at my house. I like them fresh and simply prepared, usually with just butter, salt and pepper.

Unless they've been frozen. In the fall, I stock my freezer with bags of frozen vegetables, bemoaning the end of the local harvest and the outdoor farm market (although I am pleased we have two indoor farm markets that sell herbs, eggs, baked goods, onions, apples and a few other edible delights).

I've shared my recipe for making frozen carrots palatable and my method for preparing Brussels sprouts. Now let's talk green beans.

I've been making frozen green beans this way for decades: I sometimes use fresh, too. I've tried other recipes, and this is my favorite. I plan to experiment a bit more, but not with cream of mushroom soup, I can assure you.

Green Beans Amandine with Shallots
  • 1 package frozen green beans
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 small shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons almonds, sliced or coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Using a saucepan, prepare beans according to package directions, using at least two cups of chicken broth in place of water. You may need to add water to the pan. Drain and set aside.

In large skillet, brown shallots in oil and butter, adding almonds once the shallots begin to caramelize. Put the green beans into the skillet, lower the heat, and stir, allowing flavors to blend. Alternately, you can pour the browned shallots and almonds into the saucepan, and blend with the beans. Season. Serves 3-4.

Anything prepared with almonds is generally called amandine, but sometimes you will see the term "almondine" in American cookbooks. Same thing. Those in the know use the French term.

This is a simple approach to making a bag of frozen green beans taste delightful.

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