Thanksgiving

Haricots Verts à la Lyonnaise

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner means green beans on the table. Some homes serve green beans with bread crumbs sprinkled on top and some serve them Almandine both of which are horrible and no. Don’t.

Green beans are just fine all by themselves. They don’t need your help. Just cook them gently and serve them plainly and everyone will marvel at their extraordinary flavor. They’ll compliment your culinary gift. I swear.

Goes with meat

Green beans are one of the great side dishes because they go with deeply savory brown foods. Especially turkey and especially beef. I cook them under a pot roast in a slow cooker for several hours and they come out melt in your mouth good.

At an early EVP dinner, we had planned green beans for a side them realized we had no burners. We’d made duck confit and thrown all the carcasses (there were something like 20 birds) into a giant boiler to make duck stock. I looked at Chef and said just cook them in the stock and a new favorite was born. These beans were so good people were begging us for the recipe. We did not give it to them because hell no.

Wait, is there a difference between Haricots Verts and Green Beans?

Yes you shoeless heathen, there is a difference. First of all, let's look at the etymology. Haricots means 'bean' in French but is derived from an old middle French word meaning to 'shred, cut up, or destroy'. Verts means green. The common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, is known by many names and comes in many varieties. The American bush bean or pole bean delivers fat pods about the thickness of a grade-school pencil. These are the green beans you've been eating your entire life. They're good. They're fine. However, French green beans, haricots verts, are different. The most common variety is Alicante, a bush bean which produces thin pods with a very delicate flavor. They have a higher sugar content than common green beans and they're prettier. If you have a choice, get the French bean. It works better in this recipe.

Thanksgiving dinner green beans à la Vincent Price:

Price pulled his version from eating around Lyon, France. He mentions the French habit of cooking everything with onions several times in the Treasury. It emphasizes just how awful food was in America if you weren’t Italian, French, Chinese, Korean, Mexican, or from one of the countless other cultures who were trying so hard to teach Americans there’s a flavor other than beef and potatoes.

Haricots Verts à la Lyonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh string beans UNLESS YOU CAN FIND GOOD FRENCH HARICOTS
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Instructions

  • Boil the beans in salted water for 12 minutes; drain and dry on paper towels.
  • Sauté onions in butter until they are light brown; add the cooked beans, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the beans are slightly browned.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley and vinegar, mix well, serve in a pretty bowl.
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