Tag Archives: green beans

Two Countries, One Meal

A rare cool, rainy Sunday afforded us the opportunity to cook a slow braised dish for a summer dinner. While thumbing through several favorite cookbooks, I happened upon this Roman Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Cloves in Milk Streets “The New Rules” by Courtney Hill.

The “new rule: don’t sear your meat” goes against something we typically do, brown our meat beforehand. But because you cook it uncovered for the last hour or so, the meat will brown at the end of the process.

Pot roast comes to mind with this meal, and in Rome, cloves are used to flavor the dish known as “Garofolato di Manzo alla Romana” because cloves are called chiodi di garofano. Here, the earthy, subtly smoky and slightly bitter flavor of cloves complements the natural sweetness of onion, fennel and tomatoes.

Milk Street advises not to use ground cloves that have gone stale, as they won’t add much flavor or fragrance to the braise. If your cloves have been in the pantry for more than a few months, uncap and take a whiff. The aroma should be sharp and strong. If not, pony up and get a new jar.

Unlike pot roast where you cook the large piece of meat whole, the beef is cut into chunks and simmered as a stew resulting in succulent meat throughout. Polenta is an excellent accompaniment for absorbing the flavorful sauce. In a unique pairing, we wedded the meat with another Milk Street recipe Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika.

This recipe is an adaptation of the remarkably delicious green beans from Extremadura, Spain, home of pimentón, aka Spanish smoked paprika. For perfectly crisp and tender beans, cooking techniques are combined. You start by searing the veggies in a hot pan to develop browning and flavor. Then add water and a tight fitting lid to steam them until tender. Voila!

Roman Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Cloves

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6-7 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ¾ tsp. ground cloves
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. pancetta, roughly chopped
  • 6 med. garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 med. yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 med. fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Place the beef in a large bowl and season with the cloves, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over low, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until sizzling and the fat has begun to render, about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces begin to brown, another 7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, onion and fennel, then increase to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beef, then cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
  6. Remove the pot from the oven. Stir, then return to the oven uncovered. Cook until a skewer inserted into a piece of beef meets no resistance, another 1 to 1½ hours.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. With a wide spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, then bring to a boil over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the liquid has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Stir in the thyme, then return the beef to the pot. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is heated through, about 5 minutes.
  9. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika

First, the almonds. Begin by toasting them in olive oil to deepen their nutty flavor, then add the garlic and thinly sliced serrano ham, cooking the mixture until the meat crisps and the garlic is fragrant. Then remove that mixture from the pan and add the green beans and char them in the flavorful fond left behind. 

For the final flourish of smoked paprika, first deglaze the pan with another 1⁄4 cup water, scraping up any remaining flavorful bits, then remove the pan from the burner and stir the spice in off heat. This preserves the paprika’s smoky aroma, resulting in a pan sauce that is as quick as it is deeply smoky-savory.

Don’t stir the beans too often after adding them to the pan. Stirring only a few times allows the beans to take on some char that adds flavor the finished dish. If you’re entertaining more than four people with the braised beef dinner, you’ll want to double this bean recipe.

My mistake here was using a nonstick skillet so the beans didn’t get as good a sear as I wanted. But in the end since there were no browned bits left in the pan, there was no reason to perform Step 5. Instead, I just sprinkled the smoked paprika right onto the finished beans, stirred and served. OMG, so friggin’ good!!

Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto, sliced into ¼-inch-wide ribbons
  • 2 med. garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet (don’t use nonstick) over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the almonds and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the ham and garlic and cook, stirring, until the ham crisps and the garlic is fragrant, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
  3. To the same skillet over medium-high, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat until smoking. Add the beans and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring only a few times, until the beans are lightly charred, about 4 minutes.
  4. Return the ham-almond mixture to the pan and add ¼ cup water. Cover, reduce to low and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the beans are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.
  5. Set the skillet over medium-high and add ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up the browned bits, until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika. Drizzle the sauce over the beans and serve.

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Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Tomatoes are another summer staple that explodes with a variety of luscious choices by season’s end. In fact, every year in our raised bed herb garden we are fortunate to get several “bonus plants” compliments of seed from our compost.

Fresh, snappy late-summer beans are a fleeting pleasure on their own, but jazz them up with the sweet acidity of grape tomatoes and crackly breadcrumbs, you’ve got a winning combination. The layers of colors (especially if you include yellow wax beans) and crisp and juicy textures effortlessly upgrade any main, such as our herb-marinated grilled bone-in pork chops.

As soon as I eyeballed this recipe in our latest Martha Stewart Living magazine, I knew it was going to make an appearance on our dining table within days. Unfortunately I could not access any yellow wax beans, so instead I used a combination of red and yellow grape tomatoes for that tri-color effect.

A few weeks earlier we made bead crumbs from some leftover crusty bread and put it in the freeze until such time we would need them again. Well this seemed like the perfect occasion, although the crumb was much finer than asked for here, still we went ahead with the recipe and it was great! They were a side dish to those grilled pork chops, but hardly played second fiddle.

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Breadcrumbs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz. green beans and/or yellow wax beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 slices rustic bread (5 ounces), crusts removed, torn into large pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. cocktail tomatoes or large cherry tomatoes, or a combination, halved
  • 1 oz. Manchego cheese, finely grated (1/4 cup)
Pour tomato/bread crumb mixture over plated green beans
and top with grated Manchego cheese.

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter; lightly drizzle with oil.
  2. Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form (you should have 2 cups). In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter over medium. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in breadcrumbs. Top beans with warm tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; serve.

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Adapted by a recipe from Sarah Copeland

Stir-Fried Pork, Green Beans and Red Bell Pepper with Gingery Oyster Sauce

Stir-frying is the name of the game when you want something quick and healthy. And making it yourself ensures you know exactly what’s in it, as compared to many Asian take-out places loaded with unwanted fat and calories. Cook’s Illustrated found that marinating pork tenderloin in a simple soy-sherry mixture and cooking it quickly (about two minutes) in batches over high heat kept the meat tender and beautifully seasoned. In place of the sherry, we substituted Shaoxing wine which is fermented from rice.

Because different vegetables cook at different rates, batch-cook the vegetables and add aromatics (like ginger and garlic) at the end so they are cooked long enough to develop their flavors but not long enough to burn. Chicken broth gives the sauce some backbone, and cornstarch slightly thickens it so that it lightly cloaks the meat and veggies.

We increased the amount of pork tenderloin from the original 12 ounces to one pound. And because of that, we doubled the soy sauce and sherry that gets mixed with the pork strips (which is all noted below). Keep in mind that pork tenderloin is easier to slice if it is partially frozen. *Freeze the tenderloin until firm but not frozen solid, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then cut the tenderloin crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.

Stir-frying isn’t rocket science, and that’s what’s so great about it. It doesn’t require lots of fancy equipment. Instructions indicate to cook in a skillet, however we feel most stir-fries benefit from being cooked in a flat-bottomed wok. It helps to have a stir-fry spatula which fits the contour of the wok and has a long handle (to keep distance from the intense heat).

Stir frying is advantageous over other methods of cooking as it requires very little oil, which is healthier than deep frying or pan frying, and it also retains the nutrients present in the food being stir fried. As the name indicates, the food is constantly stirred while you cook it. Make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point such as peanut, canola, safflower, soybean, etc.

Stir-Fried Pork, Green Beans and Red Bell Pepper with Gingery Oyster Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, prepared as noted above*
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. dry sherry, or Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Tbsp. dry sherry, or Shaoxing wine
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 12 oz. green beans, cut on bias into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 large red bell pepper (about 8 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch squares
  • 3 medium scallions, sliced thin on bias
  • Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (or brown rice if you prefer)

Directions

  1. Combine pork, soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. + 1 teaspoon sherry in small bowl. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, white pepper, and cornstarch in measuring cup.
  2. Combine garlic, ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.
  3. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add half of pork to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up clumps, until well-browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer pork to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil and remaining pork.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to bowl with pork.
  6. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to skillet; add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 2 minutes.
  7. Clear center of skillet, then add garlic/ginger mixture to clearing; cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 45 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers.
  8. Add pork and green beans; toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds.
  9. Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle with scallions and serve over hot jasmine rice.

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Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Simple Veal Chops Extraordinaire!

Veal chops are a rarity in our house, typically due to the high cost. I picked these up by mistake a while back, (I meant to get pork chops, go figure!) and put them in the freezer until such time we felt like treating ourselves. (Like every day since the lockdown went into effect.)

So on a recent Friday night—when in the good ol’ days we use to dine out—those veal chops came to mind as an “aha” moment. Grilled Veal Chops with Rosemary with Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes, can’t even tell you how good this combo was; you’ll have to make them yourself.

While this dinner is meant for 6 people, with only two veal chops on hand, we cut the marinade recipe in half and bathed them in it for one hour (you can do up to 4 hours). The grilling was super quick; about 3 minutes per side because the thickness was less than 3/4″.

With little to do, you’ll have more time to enjoy company. In fact, the green bean side dish (absolutely divine BTW) can be made ahead and served at room temperature. Get the chops marinating before guests arrive, and all you’ll have to do is toss them on the grill for a few minutes when ready to eat. Dinner done.

Grilled Veal Chops with Rosemary

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed, or 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 6 8-oz. veal rib chops (3/4 to 1 inch thick)

Directions

  1. Whisk oil, wine, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper to blend in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Add veal chops to dish and turn to coat with marinade. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate up to 4 hours, turning veal occasionally.
  2. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler.
  3. Remove veal from marinade, shaking off excess. Season veal with salt and pepper.
  4. Lightly oil grill. Grill or broil veal to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.

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Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Super easy to make and delicious served at room temperature, these green beans pack a ton of savory, spicy flavor. Next time however, we will reduce the “remaining 3 Tbs of coconut oil” by half.

Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 21/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 1 Tbs. of the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Bake until the skins crack, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the pepper flakes and stir. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the green beans and soy sauce. Stir to coat the beans, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover and gently stir in the tomatoes. Cook until the beans are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Side dish recipe found on Fine Cooking by Samantha Fore