One great roasted green bean dish

August 13, 2013 

From Kathleen Purvis’ blog I’ll Bite, at

Every summer, I watch for those flat, meaty green beans that are sometimes called Roma or Romano beans and sometimes called broad or flat beans. You don’t see many recipes for using them. But late last summer, I saw one in Gravy, the newsletter of the Southern Foodways Alliance, for a roasted version from Sheila and Matt Neal of Neal’s Deli in Carrboro.

Since Matt is the son of the late Southern chef Bill Neal, I figured the Neals would know how to cook some good pole beans. It was too late in the summer to use the recipe last year, so I set it aside and waited. And waited: This summer’s rains played havoc with all kinds of produce, cutting into our usual summer multitude of green bean varieties.

I never have spotted Roma beans this year, but I finally happened on some thick string beans that I knew would work. For this treatment, you need something solid and meaty – green beans at least as thick as a finger. There’s no quick-sauteing those kinds of beans. They’re the kind that would be tough unless you take extra time. This method is perfect for that, and a mess of them will last several days.

Slow-Roasted Big Green Beans Adapted from Sheila and Matt Neal, owners of Neal’s Deli in Carrboro Recipe appeared in Gravy, from the Southern Foodways Alliance, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds thick green beans, preferably Roma, flat or broad beans 1/4 cup peeled, sliced garlic 1 cup diced yellow onion 1 medium-size tomato 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Sprinkling of red pepper flakes 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup olive oil

BREAK the stems off the green beans, pulling off the strings, but leave the pods whole. Place in a roasting pan with the garlic and onion. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze lightly to remove most of the seeds. With a wide grater, grate the tomato over the green beans until you get down to the skin. Sprinkle with the sugar, pepper, pepper flakes and salt. Add the water and oil.

PLACE a sheet of parchment directly on the green beans, then cover the roasting pan tightly with foil or a lid. Roast at 350 degrees for about 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until beans are tender.

Yield: About 6 servings.

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