Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Green beans with pecans

Figure about 1/4 lb. of green beans per person. Plan to prepare pecans first.

For the pecans, which can be prepared ahead of time:

3/4 cup (1-3/4 oz) pecans, chopped coarse
1 Tbl unsalted butter
2 Tbl pure maple syrup (light or medium, NOT dark)
1/8 tsp salt

For the green beans:

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. of fresh green beans (frozen ones have too much moisture)
2 Tbl butter
2 med. shallots, minced (or minced onion)
1/2 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
pinch red pepper flakes (or cayenne)
2 tsp flour
2/3 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. orange juice (fresh or from concentrate)
salt and pepper

Prepare the pecans:

1. Toast pecans in 12-inch nonstick skillet over med-high heat,
stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 mins.

2. Off heat, stir in 1 Tbl butter, maple syrup, and 1/8 tsp salt.

3. Return skillet to medium heat; cook and stir constantly, until nuts
are dry and glossy, about 45-60 secs; transfer to a plate and set
aside to cool.

4. If the pecans are stuck together, gently pry them apart.

Prepare the green beans:

If continuing to cook immediately after having toasted the pecans:

5. Wipe skillet (if necessary). Heat 2 Tbl butter over medium heat til foaming.

6. When foaming subsides, add shallots (or minced onion), orange zest (optional), and red pepper flakes (or cayenne), stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes.

7. Stir in flour until combined, then toss in green beans.

8. Add chicken broth and orange juice.

9. Increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook about 4 mins, until beans are partly tender but still crisp at center.

10. Uncover and stir occasionally, about 2-4 mins, until beans are tender and sauce has thickened slightly.

11. Off heat, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

12. When ready to serve, sprinkle with pecans or have pecans on the side for folks to help themselves.

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