This is the antithesis of the barely cooked, fresh green beans that are so wonderful when they're at their height in summer. Southerners have long known that there is also something special about the flavor of green beans that have been long-cooked, a technique perfect for the wintertime, when you're using frozen vegetables.
The combination of honey and tomatoes gives this a sweet-and-sour touch.
Servings: 1 - 2
Yield: Makes 2 side-dish servings or 1 main-course serving
- 1 slice bacon, chopped (may substitute 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
- 1 large (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) shallot lobe or very small onion, cut into very thin slices
- 2 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) frozen green beans
- 1 cup canned, no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, plus their juices
- Water (optional)
- 4 or 5 very small new potatoes, scrubbed well (about 5 ounces total)
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
Place a small skillet (for which you have a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the bacon and fry until crisp, 3 or 4 minutes. (If using olive oil instead, simply heat it in the skillet until it shimmers before proceeding.) Sprinkle in the Spanish smoked paprika, then stir in the shallot or onion and the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot or onion has softened and is starting to brown, 4 minutes.
Add the green beans and toss to incorporate, then add the tomatoes and their juices. Add water as needed so the beans are barely covered. Top with the potatoes.
Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is barely bubbling around the edges. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender and the green beans will be very soft, with no trace of crispness, about 30 minutes, stirring a few times and adding water as needed. Season with salt to taste.
Stir in the honey and eat.
From Joe Yonan, author of "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One" (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.