I think I can confidently say that I grew up with green beans. Not this one, I mean French bean “haricot vert”, but a bit different green bean commonly found in Turkey. I used that easy peasy recipe that I know by heart for French beans this time.
My father always loved green beans. The one we commonly find in Turkey is what is called “bush beans” I think. They are slightly lighter green in colour, bigger and flatter. You need to trim the ends and also sides and so it takes quite an effort to prepare them for cooking, contrary to these French ones that you just trim from both ends.
When I was a kid and throughout my teenager years, I kind of got tired of green beans because they were almost always part of the dinner table. So I started to eat whatever else there was on the table. However, when I went to Turkey last month for holiday, I rediscovered the beautiful taste of beans and I have a newfound love for them.
However, I can’t find those beans in Helsinki. I mean, ok, I saw them many times in the Turkish market in Itäkeskus, but I felt extremely lazy to go there just to buy beans to be honest. So instead, I bought French beans from S-market and cooked them the same way I would cook the other ones. Turns out, it is just equally delicious!
The idea in this kind of dishes in Turkish cuisine is to cook them almost always with addition of a little sugar and then to eat them rather cool, so no reheating. I know that some people still prefer heating and eating them warm, but in our family, we prefer these cool – maybe not right out of the fridge but let’s say 10 minutes after that. Enjoy!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, mashed
2 cans tomato puree (400 gr. can)
1 tsp granulated white sugar
750 gr. fresh green beans*, ends trimmed, each bean cut in 2 to make smaller pieces
2.5 dl (or 1 cup) water or vegetable broth
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
*I do recommend making this dish with fresh beans and not frozen ones. You’ll see the difference in texture. I certainly prefer fresh ones.
1. In a large pot, put olive oil on medium high heat and warm for 20 seconds. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
2. Add mashed garlic and continue to saute for 1 more minute.
3. Add canned tomatoes and stir a little.
4. Add sugar and stir a little.
5. Add green beans and stir to let the tomato and onion mixture and beans mix well.
6. Pour water / vegetable broth, stir a little and then put the lid on the pot (I leave the lid ajar). When the beans boil, turn the heat to medium heat and continue cooking, for about 20-25 minutes, until the beans are soft and well cooked. Do not forget to stir the beans frequently while cooking so that nothing sticks to the base of the pot. Also, check the beans frequently, you do not want to overcook them (for me it took 25 minutes to cook, but it may take shorter for you, so be careful).
7. When the beans are cooked, add salt and pepper, stir and cook for about 2 more minutes. When it’s done, turn off the heat and let the beans cool to room temperature (with the cover of the pot on), then transfer to a serving dish. Cover and put in the fridge. You are welcome to eat the beans freshly cooked and warm, in room temperature or after a few hours in the fridge. Enjoy!