While I don’t live in Madison and can’t visit the Dane County Farmers Market on a weekly basis, I’ve got my own market where I shop (almost) every Saturday (and you should be supporting your own local farmers market!) And Green Beans are now in season and available! There are so many delicious ways to enjoy them–boiled and blanched to maintain color, cooked and tossed with chopped onion and vinaigrette for a green bean salad, even raw with a dip. Here’s a tasty (and simple!) recipe for green beans slow cooked with tomatoes and onion called Loubia (or Loob’ya or Loobya or Loub’ya or some other transliteration from Arabic). It stems from the Lebanon/Syria region of the Middle East. Tastes even better the next day and can be served warm or at room temperature (or cold from the fridge while standing at the sink—not a joke, people, trust me on this!) This is a fairly soupy dish and I suppose if you cut the beans into small pieces, say 1-2 inches, you can serve this as a soup). That said, you can remove some of the sauce to make it more like a regular vegetable side dish.
What You’ll Need
- chopping board and knife, for prepping the beans, tomatoes, and onion
- large saucepan or cast iron enameled pot
- spoon for stirring
- garlic press (can also manually mince the garlic)
- 1 to 1.5 lbs green beans, washed and drained, with tops cut off
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (add more if you are one of those garlic people)
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or 1 14-oz. can whole or diced tomatoes)1
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
How to Make Loubia
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat2. Add the onion and a pinch or two or salt, and saute the onion until it is soft and translucent, but not browned.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two; do not let the garlic burn, as it’ll taste bitter.
- Add the green beans and the tomatoes; if using canned tomatoes, be sure to add the juice from the can as well. Add the stock. It should barely cover the beans and tomatoes (it’s okay if a few beans stick out of the water!) Add another pinch or two of salt, plus some pepper (as much or little as you like).
- Bring the green beans to a boil,
reduce heat to a simmer, and cook (covered) for about an 45 minutes. Give the pot a stir every now and then.
- Remove the cover and cook the beans, maintaining a simmer, for another 45 minutes.
- Bring to a boil and cook the beans for another 20-30 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid.
- Remove from heat. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
1If using canned whole tomatoes, chop them up or break them apart with your (clean) hands–don’t leave them whole. If you do that, though, be careful–cover the tomato with your other hand to avoid squirting tomato juice on everything. I speak from experience here.
2If using stainless steel, let the pan heat up a bit (until the edges are warm to the touch) and then add the oil. It’ll help keep the onion from sticking.