Have you decided what to make for Thanksgiving?
In addition to turkey, mushed potatoes, sweet potatoes and all, I like making Turkish Green Beans (featured in my upcoming cookbook, will be out in about a week!) for Thanksgiving. Green beans sometimes get watery, bland, or boring, but this one is different. They sop up all the goodness of tomato and onion juice, it’s flavorful hot, room-temperature, or even cold.
Turkish green beans are a part of typical mezze (a traditional appetizer spread) in Turkey and Greece. When my husband and I visited Turkey, we ate it all the time and never got bored of it. This dish is usually served cold, but is delicious hot as well.
Ideal for parties, you can make it ahead of time and not worry about re-heating it.
This is also a great twist on ordinary Thanksgiving green beans. Try it—everyone will love it! When cooking for a potluck, make enough so that you can save some for yourself. Turkish green beans taste great for days.
Tip: A squeeze of lemon juice or some extra virgin olive oil at the end enhances the flavor, especially when eaten cold.
TURKISH GREEN BEANS
► 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
► About 2 pounds green beans, ends removed, cut or broken
into 2 to 3 inch pieces
► About 1 cup TOMATO & ONION BASE (recipe follows)
► 1 teaspoon sugar
► Salt and pepper to taste
► 10 fresh basil leaves or 1/4 teaspoon of dry basil
► Optional: 1 teaspoon tomato purée
► About 1 1/2 cup boiling water
➊ Sauté Green Beans » Heat oil in a medium sauce pan. Add green beans, Tomato & Onion Base, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook on medium-high heat until the green beans begin to soften.
➋ Braise » Add tomato puree, basil, and boiling water to barely cover the beans. Stirring occasionally, cook uncovered until vegetables are soft, and most of the water is evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or cold.
TOMATO AND ONION BASE
Many people associate tomato sauce with Italian cuisine. However, many other cultures also use something similar in their cooking.
An Italian version we are familiar with is made with lots of tomatoes and garlic, and a little bit of onion, if any. My tomato and onion sauce is quite different. It’s well-flavored with lots of onions, so it’s not only for pastas and chickens, but a perfect base for ethnic favorites such as ratatouille, curries, shrimp with chili sauce, risottos, and more.
I even use it as a condiment, a sandwich spread, or even as pizza sauce.
As you can see, many tomato dishes call for sautéed onions anyway, so you will find this version both versatile and convenient. You can use either yellow, white, or even
red onions in the base.
If possible, use fresh, ripe tomatoes for this base; it will give a better balance of tomato and onion, and taste much fresher and more flavorful. For maximum nutrition and time-savings, the skins and seeds can be chopped and added to the sauce.
Makes about 3 cups
► 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
► 4 cloves garlic, minced
► 2 medium onions, diced ¼ to ½ inch
► About 2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes (or 1 large can = 28 ounces), chopped
► Salt and pepper to taste
➊ Cook Onion » Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook minced garlic until fragrant. Add chopped onions and a little salt. Cook until soft and lightly browned over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally
about 5 minutes.
➋ Cook Tomatoes » Add chopped tomatoes and cook until most of the moisture evaporates and the mixture takes on a thick saucy texture, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
This base should last about 1 week in the refrigerator, or 1 to 2 month in the freezer.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Anything you make regularly?