Green Bean

I’ve been eating more bulgur as the carb portion of meals; it’s low on the glycemic index. I strongly suspect that that is because it is partially cooked, then dried, then cooked again (by me, that last time) and this is a process that seems to create resistant starches. It’s good, anyway, with a nice chewy texture and that original partial cooking means it’s quick to prepare.

This is a standard Turkish recipe. The recipes I referred to didn’t call for the addition of any oniony stuff, but you could put a finely chopped shallot into the butter before adding the other ingredients. However, I suspect it’s generally kept fairly plain as it’s meant as a side dish to be served with other things that are expected to be more the stars of the show. As such, the seasonings are pretty plain too. If I was serving it with some not very seasoned chicken, fish, or other meat, I’d be inclined to add some more – basil, oregano, summer savory, paprika, and hot chile being possibilities that immediately occur. Not all of them at once, obviously. I served the leftovers with a good drizzle of chile-garlic sauce and was very happy. 

4 to 8 servings
30 minutes – 15 minutes prep time

450 grams (1 pound) green beans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large tomato OR 2 tablespoons tomato paste
           OR 1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups bulgur
2 1/4 cups unsalted chicken OR vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash and trim the beans, and blanch them in boiling water – you can drop them into a pot of boiling water for a minute, but it’s easier to leave them in a colander in the sink and pour a kettleful over them. If you are using the fresh tomato, blanch it too, so as to be able to peel it, then chop it.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed non-reactive pot until melted, and add your tomato substance. You now have a choice; you can add the beans now (traditional) or you can hold off and add them later so they stay crisper and greener. At any rate, add the bulgur, stock, and seasonings, and stir well.

Bring the bulgur up to a boil, then reduce the heat until the pot is simmering steadily. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bulgur is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir regularly. Reduce the heat if it seems to be sticking. If you did not add the beans at the beginning, you can mix them in at any time during this process, with the expectation that quite lightly cooked beans will take about 4 minutes more of cooking.

Once the bulgur is cooked, it is a good idea to remove the covered pot from the stove and let it rest for 3 or 4 minutes before transferring it to a serving bowl and serving.

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