My all-time favorite vegetable is green beans, also known as string beans. When the farmers market opens in the spring, I go every week looking for the first green beans of the season. We eat them at least twice a week all summer long.
So I thought I would share two main ways that I cook green beans as a side dish. But first the most important part of both recipes: You have to start with fresh green beans that snap when you bend them. I don’t do canned or frozen green beans.
Green Beans with Lemon and Butter
1 lb fresh green beans
Snap ends off each green bean. You can either leave them whole or snap into small pieces depending on your size preference. Place the beans in a pot of cold water. Add 2 squirts of lemon juice (I usually use the bottled kind, but you could use a fresh lemon if you have one), 2 shakes of marjoram, 2 shakes of basil, and a dash or 2 of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and continue to boil on medium for approximately 10 – 15 minutes, or until the beans are just tender. I usually pull one out and test to see if it is tender but still “squeaks” a little bit when you bite it. Drain beans. Add 1 more squirt of lemon and 2 tsp or so of butter. Serve with whatever else you made for dinner.
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Traeger Green Beans
1 lb fresh green beans
cooking spray (like Pam)
Snap ends off each green bean. Leave whole and rinse. Spray middle of a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place beans on the aluminum foil. Add 2 or 3 squirts lemon juice, 2 shakes of marjoram, 2 shakes of basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold up sides and ends of aluminum foil making a packet, leaving a small opening at the top. Add 1/8 water, being careful not to wash the spices off the beans. Close up aluminum.
Now here’s the tricky part. To make this turn out the way it does for me, you need to have a Traeger pellet stove. It’s kind of like a bar-b-q, but kind of like a smoker, too. I suppose you could do this on a gas grill, but you won’t get the flavor that comes from the smoking of the wood pellets.
Place the packet of green beans at the coolest end of the pellet stove or grill. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and serve. Some of the beans may get a little black, but they taste really good that way. We usually do chicken or steak, and potatoes, on the Traeger at the same time. Makes for easy after-dinner clean up. You just throw away all the aluminum foil!