Braised Wide Green Beans in Olive oil
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Contrary to what most people think Palestinian food is rich in vegetables. Some of the humblest dishes are my favorites like this green beans stew in tomatoes and olive oil. This dish is a Middle Eastern vegetarian one-pot dish. In Lebanon it’s often called (Loubia bi al zeit and in Palestine Fasoulia bi al Zeit)
The Beauty of these one pot dishes is the simplicity of the preparation process and the humble ingredients that yield to delicious comforting flavors once cooked together.
You will find okra, and other greens cooked in a very similar way.
I don’t often find these wide beans called runner or Romano beans at the market here. But I will impulsively buy them whenever I see them.
The flat, wide and faded green beans keep their shape and color well in braised dishes. They have a hearty and meatier texture than their string bean cousin. (Although you can totally substitute string green beans in this dish). A dish like this is often eaten warm or at room temperature and definitely with warm pita to mop up the olive oil and tomatoes juices. Sahtain
Cook-time: 30-35 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil plus more to finish
2 onions, thinly sliced or diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.5 pounds Runner or Romano beans in Arabic we call them wide beans Fasoulia Areeda (you can definitely substitute these with string green beans. But they would cook in about 10 minutes)
6 vine ripened tomatoes chopped
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp Pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Pita bread, or white rice to serve
Prep your beans:
To prepare, cut off the woodsy ends and remove the strings from the sides by using a pairing knife. Runner beans are at their best when small and young; to check the freshness of your beans give them a snap if they have a nice crisp snap they are good to go. As they mature on the vine they toughen and become more stringy.
Bring a pot of salted water to a roaring boil
Blanche the beans in the boiling salted water for 3-4min. Smaller or younger beans will take less time than larger ones.
Strain the beans and place them in an ice bath (a bowl full of water and ice cubes). This step will help the green beans retain their green color.
Drain and set aside while you prep the sauce.
Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes. season with salt and pepper and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes.
Add your chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and cinnamon stick and toss to coat. Let the tomatoes simmer and caramelized a bit 5 more minutes. Add the blanched green beans Cook, give them a nice toss in the tomatoes sauce. If the tomato sauce is too thick thin it with a bit of water. The juiciness of tomatoes depends heavily on the season and the type you use. Cover the pot, until beans are tender. About 15-20 more minutes depending on the size of your beans.
Finish the dish with a nice drizzle of olive oil all over the top.
This dish can be served warm or at room temperature. scooped up with pita bread to mops all the garlicky tomatoes or served over fluffy rice.