I’m going to show you how to cook green beans in a Turkish style savoury tomato sauce. It’s a really simple, tasty dish and the sauce can easily be adapted to accompany other ingredients.
- Green beans, 500 grams
- Onion, 1, medium
- Garlic cloves, 2-4
- Tomatos, 4-6, small to medium
- Olive oil, some
- Tomato puree, 1 tablespoon (you can use pepper or mixed puree)
- Salt, 1 teaspoon
- Water, 1/2 glass
- Additional vegetables optional (see preparation step 4. below)
- Snap the beans into lengths of around 1.5 inches (around 4cm), getting rid of any withered bits and/or the stalky ends. You can keep these in water until you need them.
- Finely chop the onions and the garlic. You can crush the garlic and/or throw it in whole (if you like to chew on chunks of cooked garlic…)
- Chop the tomatoes.
- (Optional) Slice any other vegetables you want to add; typical Turkish favourites include potatoes and carrots.
- Reduce the onions over a medium heat with a healthy amount of olive oil – around one wooden spoonful – I’m of the opinion you can never use enough olive oil in this (or any other) dish.
- Just as they begin to brown, add a tablespoon of tomato, pepper or mixed puree. Mix this evenly in.
- Immediately after, (to save your onions from burning) add the chopped tomatoes. Note: I’ve never tried chopped tomatoes from a tin in this recipe; they inevitably add an undesirable acidity, which clashes with the slight sweet aroma of the beans. If you go down this route however, I have found that more expensive brands tend to be less acidic. I would recommend experimenting until you find a brand you like.
- Add the salt. When the pan contents begin to bubble, adjust the heat to a slightly-above-gentle simmer. Add the beans (and any other vegetables), add half a glass of water, then cover and leave to cook for around 40-45 minutes. I like to set a 10 minute timer, stirring the dish each time it goes off. Check it’s ready by tasting a bean. If you chew on any stalky bits, it’s not quite ready.
- When its ready, turn the heat up to maximum and bubble through for 30 seconds, while stirring rapidly. Then set aside to cool before serving.
Side Dish Suggestions
The dish works equally well with fluffy white bread, crusty brown bread or rice. I like to cook a bowl of rice just before the beans have finished cooking so they are ready at the same time.