Mediterranean Braised Green Beans

From Cook's Illustrated | September/October 2012

Why this recipe works:

In order to quickly create braised green beans that are ultra-tender but not mushy or blown out, we first cook them in baking soda and water, to partially dissolve the pectin in their cell walls and let water enter to soften their fibrous skins. We then add tomatoes to neutralize the soda and… read more

In order to quickly create braised green beans that are ultra-tender but not mushy or blown out, we first cook them in baking soda and water, to partially dissolve the pectin in their cell walls and let water enter to soften their fibrous skins. We then add tomatoes to neutralize the soda and let them simmer gently in a low oven.

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Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

A dollop of yogurt spooned over the beans adds nice tang. To make a light entrée, serve the beans with rice or crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, chopped coarse
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, baking soda, and green beans and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes and their juice, salt, and pepper.

    2. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until sauce is slightly thickened and green beans can be easily cut with side of fork, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with vinegar to taste. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and serve warm or at room temperature.

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