This is one of those magical dishes: so simple, with a nice short ingredient list which transforms a pile of green beans into something quite different and deliciously more than the some of its parts. The green beans are braised ever so slowly, so that they become oozily tender but not mushy. There is something that is inherently comforting and wholesome about anything that has been slow braised until fork tender. I don’t whether this is just me but all my favorite food doesn’t need a knife to cut it. There is something about the formality of eating with a knife and fork that turns me off. Whereas chopsticks, forks or spoons or hands have something earthy and appealing about them. It must be the peasant in me, which isn’t surprising, because peasant food is what I like to eat best. Which is what this bean stew is really – peasant food. There’s very little effort involved – just the time to cook it slowly and that is the simple magic of it.
This stew is perfect as a side dish on your Christmas buffet or as part of a larger meal but you can also just add some cheese, bread and olives, and you have all the makings of perfectly satisfying meal. Like most Greek cooking, the most important thing is not to be stingy with the olive oil. It adds the spectacular flavour and it’s good for you.
This recipe for this comes from Lisa Stanton’s wonderful blog – Greek Vegetarian – which, if you’re interested in Greek food at all, it is well worth checking out for its contemporary and traditional Greek recipes and stunning photographs.
Fasolakia – Greek green bean stew
Adapted from Greek Vegetarian
- 1kg fresh green beans
- 100mls olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and grated
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 8 Roma tomatoes peeled and chopped, or 1x 400grams of peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 100ml of water
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash and trim beans.
- Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Gently saute grated onions for a few minutes then add beans, minced garlic and then saute for another couple of minutes, stirring the beans through the oil until they are well coated.
- Add tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover and put on a very low heat to cook for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Uncover, add parsley and simmer for another five to ten minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the tomato sauce is thick.
Vegan and gluten free