27 May 2009

Green beans cooked with tomatoes

One of the best ways to cook green beans is with tomatoes, onions, and, optionally, carrots — IMHO. Okay, yes, just slightly steaming beans and serving them plain with butter or olive oil is also pretty good, especially if you have fresh haricots verts.

But when you want something a little different, cut up a big onion and about a pound of fresh tomatoes. Cook the onions in olive oil or butter. When they just start to soften, add the tomatoes to the pot. After two or three minutes of cooking on medium, add about 1½ lbs. of green beans. If you want to add a couple of peeled and sliced carrots, add them at the beginning with the onions. I put carrots in many things.

Green beans from the freezer starting to cook
with fresh onions, carrots, and tomatoes.

You can use fresh or frozen green beans. Fresh are always better, but it's not yet the season here in the Loire Valley. We had beans from last year's garden that had been blanched and packaged for the freezer. This is a good way to prepare frozen beans when you don't have fresh ones.

Here's the result. Of course the beans lose that bright
green color, but the tomato pieces hold together.

Add a couple of cloves of garlic, plenty of pepper, some salt, a couple of bay leaves, and a sprig of thyme to the pot with the beans and tomatoes. Also add ½ cup of water. In my French cookbooks, it says to let the beans & tomatoes cook for an hour on medium heat. You might like it cooked for considerably less time than that.

Monique Maine calls these « Haricots verts à l'italienne ». I don't know if they are really Italian, but I've been cooking them in France since the 1970s.

I'm heading over to Intermarché this morning to buy a couple of rabbits. I'm talking about rabbits that have been cleaned and skinned, and are ready to be cooked. They are on special at 5.39€/kg, or about $3.50/lb. with a U.S. dollar that's worth 71 eurocents right now.


  1. I wish my Dad was still alive to see those green beans of yours, Ken! He'd be 110 lol- but he cooked the best beans I've ever tasted.

    They were pole beans grown in his KY garden- when cooked they were a deep dark green. He'd cook the beans until there was no pot liquor left, adding potatoes on top after a while. Most people don't like beans cooked so long but for me they were delicious, especially with the potatoes.

    I bet he would have liked adding carrots and tomatoes like you have. He often ate tomatoes with his breakfast eggs.

  2. Hi Evelyn, Walt and I both like green beans cooked long and slow. It's kind of Southern-style, don't you think? In California, people like to eat green beans just barely steamed, almost raw. Crunchy. They can be good that way too, but different. Wish I could have tasted your dad's deep dark green pole beans.

  3. Oh Ken , this brings me back to my childhood. My nana used to cook her beans this way (w/o carrots) and served it on rice with some cubes of beef cooked en daube. She learned to cook the beans that way when my grand-parents lived in Madagascar for a yr when my mum was still a teenager.

  4. Remember "Le Pigalle" at Los Gatos where I complained the green beans were raw? Just like you, I would have loved Evelyn's father's green beans!

  5. Long and slow may be Southern style. The barely cooked way is trendy and good, too but if I have my druthers, I'll go with Southern every time.

    Beaver, your nana's beans sound delicious. My dh would probably like them with rice since he likes rice with everything.

  6. Ken, those green beans look SO good. I'm a Californian (San Francisco), and I'm not a fan of the crunchy vegetables. I've always liked mine cooked, as you said, long and slow - as they do in France. I'm going to be making those beans very soon.

    Donna in SF


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