Braised Green Beans & Caramelized Red Onion
Late in the summer and early fall you can still get green beans but they tend toward toughness. However, you can turn them into a meltingly tasty side dish by braising. Amp up the flavor a notch by adding caramelized onions, a bit of goat cheese and a little sweet red pepper. Onions contain plenty of folic acid, an important B vitamin, fiber, calcium, iron and protein. An additional bonus is quercitin, a flavanoid that supports vision health. Quercitin acts in a synergistic manner with vitamin E and taurine.
Time: about 45 minutes; onions can be made ahead of time.
This is also a great dish to start and let simmer while you do other tasks.
Caramelized Onions - 30-45 minutes
The onions are sliced lengthwise, not crosswise and cooked very slowly.
1 large red onion, sliced very thin
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
2 T balsamic vinegar or marsala wine
Green Beans - 30 minutes
Green beans, cooked in an alkaline liquid are bright green, but mushy. Cooked in water that is slightly acidic turns them brownish, but crisp and tasty!
2 cups green beans, sliced into 1/2" to 2" lengths; the tougher they are, the shorter
1/4 c chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c vegetable stock
2 T cider vinegar
pinch of chili pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled into bits
2-3 T chopped parsley
Cooking the Onions
Start with the onion since they take longer. We usually make a double batch of onions to add them to other meals the next day.
- Slice the red onion very thinly, from top to bottom, so that it makes long thin strands
- On medium high bring the olive oil to a shimmer, no hotter, and add the onions. Stir them to spread the oil on all strands.
- Turn the heat down as low as possible and let the onions stew, gently stirring them from time to time.
- If needed add a bit of water so they don't burn.
- After about 10 minutes, sprinkle the salt on the onions and stir it in.
- Let them brown for about 30-45 minutes. Let them stick a little to the bottom of the pan so they caramelize, but don't let them burn.
- Eventually they'll turn a rich brown. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, or you can add white or marsela wine.
Cooking the Green Beans
- While the onions are browning, chop the green beans in 1/2" to 2" lengths - shorter if they are tough.
- Chop the onion.
- Gently heat the oil in your skillet and add the onions, garlic and chili flakes and cook them until soft but not brown, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add the beans, soup stock and the vinegar.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat as much as possible.
- Let them simmer for 30 minutes and then taste test. They should be crisp and flavorful.
- About this time, the onions will have finished browning.
Putting it Together
- Add a bit of butter or oil to the beans and turn the heat to medium-high.
- Cook them until almost all of the soup stock is gone.
- Add the caramelized onions and gently stir them all together
- Crumble the goat cheese and chop some parsley
- To serve, turn out the beans/onions on a plate or shallow bowl and garnish with the goat cheese and parsley.
We often add potatoes or other cooked vegetables at the last minute, or for a non-vegetarian meal, bits of sauteed chicken.