Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Braised Romano Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

I got Romano beans in my produce box this week and didn't know what they were.  So much so that I tried to eat one raw, thinking it was an overgrown sugar snap pea, which was unsuccessful, and then tried to peel it and eat the beans inside raw, thinking it was maybe more like an English pea, which was also unsuccessful.

All of which led to me having a bad taste in my mouth and finally breaking down and checking on the Organics to you website to figure out what exactly it was so that I could find a recipe and make them more palatable.  According to Deb at Smitten Kitchen, " Sort of broad and longer than snap peas, they’re also tougher and require a longer cooking time. "

Ahem, no wonder they were rubbish raw.  While I chose not to make the Smitten Kitchen recipe, her post did lead me to this excellent post on The Wednesday Chef, which I did make, albeit with some substitutions, because I didn't want to go to the store.    

I've written it below how I made it (substituting chorizo for pancetta and adding a couple of sad zucchini that needed to be cooked), but I trust you could make it either way with good results.  Also, my pictures are terrible (those are orange cherry tomatoes, but I cooked them too long), so go look at the pretty picture over on The Wednesday Chef.

I had some for dinner and then a whole bowlful for lunch the next day, and it was equally delicious both ways.  Much better than raw.

Braised Romano Beans with Cherry Tomatoes, originally from The Wednesday Chef:

1 link of chorizo sausage
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onion, about 1 medium or 1/2 large
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds Romano beans, stems removed and cut into bite-sized lengths
1/4 cup wine/vinegar (optional, for deglazing)
1 tsp salt
2-3 zucchini, halved or quartered lengthwise and then sliced
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil

Either halve or quarter chorizo link lengthwise and then slice.  Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chorizo and cook until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add the onions.  Cook until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and Romano beans and stir with the onions and chorizo.  Deglaze the pan with the wine or vinegar if you are so inclined.  (Pour in the acid and stir up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.)  Add the salt and 3/4 cups water and reduce the heat to medium.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are silky in texture and extremely flavorful, about 45 minutes.  If the mixture begins to cook dry, add a little more water.  (My pan lid is not tightly fitted, so I added an additional 3/4 cups of water twice in the 45 minute cooking time.)

When the beans are cooked, remove the lid, add the zucchini, and cook long enough to evaporate most of the remaining water, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and add the cherry tomatoes.  Cook until they are warmed through (do not overcook like I did).  Stir in the basil and taste and correct for seasoning (ie more salt or pepper or red pepper chili flakes).  Serve either warm or at room temperature.

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