Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Maan's Beans: Tomatoes and Green Beans Meet Garlic

While I'm on vacation for a bit - England rather than Hokkaido this time - I'm bringing forward posts that readers seem to head for most often. This one, it is no surprise, is a regular favorite. The dish, lab-man in Lebanese, is a favorite of mine and is truly as much a taste of home as my mother's meatloaf. There's a fair amount of olive oil, but it's well-balanced by the feast of garlic that goes with it. Enjoy!

Our neighbors, Sybil and Maan, are famous for their food. One cannot enter their home without finding a dish of tasty nuts, a warm bowl of soup, or a plate of hummus and tabbouleh. Their annual lamb roast is an event we scheduled our Michigan lives around, and a dinner invitation is never declined. (They are also incredible company, so it's not just the food we go for.) The best is when Maan lets you help make the dish of the day. My favorite memories undoubtedly include watching my olive oil soaked hands disappear into the verdant green of parsley, mint, garlic, tomato and bulgur to mix the neighborhood favorite - tabbouleh.

So, at a gathering of the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers the theme for the potluck was Summer in January. I wanted to use some of the canned goods I was trying to work my way through. Berries and fruit were covered - strawberry shortcake, homemade ice cream, a berry crisp - so vegetables seemed a good choice. Then I spotted the jars of tomatoes and green beans. Instantly, I saw it. Maan's green beans and tomatoes bubbling away in a big pot.

Maan makes this dish with fresh green beans and tomatoes, and lots and lots of garlic. It is, of course, best when all the ingredients are fresh and brought over from Frog Holler Organic Farm down the way. I used my canned beans and tomatoes, and the "lots and lots of garlic." (While the rest of America might be slowly turning into corn, Maan is quite possibly turning into garlic and thankfully taking the neighborhood with him.)

Maan's Green Beans (offered with permission)
2 quarts canned tomatoes
4 pints canned green beans (hold back the juice)
Medium onion, chopped
Two heads of garlic, peeled*
2 small cans of tomato paste
Olive oil
*Maan has left the garlic unpeeled in the past making for a fun exercise while eating this dish.

Saute the onions in olive oil until they are very brown, nearly caramelized. And use a generous amount of olive oil to do so. Then plop in the tomatoes and tomato paste, the beans, the garlic, and the salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Salt to taste. When the beans are fresh, simmer until they are well done. When the beans are canned, simmer until the garlic is soft and you can't wait anymore. I left it for about five hours, but it was even better the next day after more time sitting. If you make it early in the day it could be perfect for an evening meal. Best if eaten with fresh pita bread, but tasty on its own or served over rice.


Anjuli said...

sounds absolutely delightful!!!!!

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Thanks, Anjuli! It is a really amazing dish. We spotted it on the menu at a Lebanese restaurant here in London, and I was quite tempted to order it. However, Maan has spoiled us for other tabouleh's, so I held off. Give it a go. It's wonderful!