Recipe: Mother’s String Beans

Adventures in Eating: Mother’s String Beans
Rosemarie | September 1982

I never fail to get “turned on” when I stop to realize, time and time again, the infinite ways a particular ingredient can be prepared.

String beans are in their full glory in the markets now. I remember as a little girl, sitting and painfully stringing them for my mother. Today they are long, green, tender and crunchy morsels, ready for the adventuresome cook.

The only way one chances to savor string beans in a restaurant is from the frozen variety that is steamed (or boiled) with a little butter. My mother would not have thought of preparing beans in that manner. Ours was fixed to be the main meal accompanied by rice pilaf and a dolop of yogurt over the beans. Hearty and delicious.


2 Tb. butter
1 lb. green beans, french cut (sliced in half long way) or 2-10oz frozen packages of beans
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 lb ground beef
Dash of red pepper
Salt & pepper/taste

Saute onions in butter for 5 minutes, and add meat. Continue sauteing the meat until it is browned, stirring often. Add minced garlic, tomatoes, water and tomato sauce. Cover and slowly simmer for 20 minutes. You should have a nice sauce. Add the cut green beans, bring to a boil, season to taste. Cover and continue simmering the beans over low heat until the beans are cooked. Unlike other bean dishes, this must cook awhile, at least 45 minutes. The beans should absorb the sauce and be thoroughly cooked.

This dish can also be prepared without the meat. It makes a delightful side dish. Optional additions are oregano or marjoram, and lemon juice. Serves 4 – 6.

Bon Appetit.

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