Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011-better green beans

Thanksgiving got better a few years ago when they added a football game (no, not shitty college football, the real, deal-NFL) to the holiday. Now we have not two, but three games on Turkey day, allowing you to do more gorgeing on Thanksgiving leftovers only to park your overly stuffed, bloated carcass on the sofa for more barbaric, contact sports.

This year it will get even better for you because for those of you reading this, I am now a part of your (culinary) life and how can that be a bad thing?  I will think of something. So as mentioned before, I will be posting Thanksgiving tips and recipes until the big day.

Today we will talk about green beans and how you can make them better

First, I recommend using haricot verts (baby French green beans) but they are not required
The key points to cooking green vegetables are:
-The proportion of water to vegetables. A rough estimate is one handful of vegetables to two gallons of water
-The water is well salted-it should taste like sea water.
-The water is violently boiling
-If you are just blanching (par cooking in advance) the vegetables, make sure you have ice water ready before the vegetables are cooked
-If you put too many green vegetables in relation to the quantity water, the water will cool down too much, meaning the green vegetables will take longer to cook, consequently affecting the color. Instead of a nice green, you will have Army green (yuk!)
NOTE: if the beans are too old, you won't get a nice color either
My green beans

Approximately 4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 lb of green beans, snipped
3 strips of bacon, rough chop
1/2 red onion, julienned
To taste-salt and fresh cracked pepper
Handful of toasted, sliced almonds
1/2 stick of butter

Method

-Bring a large pot of salted water to a violent boil
-Have a bowl of ice water (lot of ice) and a colander ready at the side prior to cooking the beans if blanching
-Add the beans to the water based on the proportions above and boil until they are tender
-To test, remove a green bean with a spoon.  Bite into it.  When ready, the bean should be a nice green (not Army green which means overcooked) and have a little bite to it.  It should not be crunchy or have somewhat of a raw flavor
-When cooked, scoop the beans out with a strainer and place the strainer in the ice water to cool for a few minutes.  Once cool, place the beans on a tray lined with a lint free cloth to absorb water.  It is bad for food to sit in liquid unless marinating
-Repeat the cooking process with the remaining beans and place the beans in the refrigerator until ready for use

To finish:
-Have a pot of boiling water ready for reheating the beans
-Cook the bacon over medium heat in a pan large enough so the bacon is not overlapping too much
-Once the bacon is almost cooked, add the onions and cook until tender
-Add the butter and melt
-Add the almonds
-Pour the bacon, butter, onion and almond mixture into a bowl large enough to accomodate the beans and keep it warm
-Dip the beans in the boiling water for about 30 seconds
-Remove the beans from the water, shake excess water off and add them to the bowl with the other ingredients and toss, adding salt and pepper
-Taste.  Adjust seasoning as necessary
-Serve

ps. fresh, chopped thyme also nice with these

You can thank me later :)


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