Wednesday, June 13, 2007

G is for Green Bean and Garlic Soup


We stumbled on eddoes and tracked down the daikon, so it seemed a little tame to be dealing with something as straightforward as a green bean. The letter G doesn't appear to have many vegetable candidates so I have promoted the green bean in the Great Big Veg Challenge. For years I used to place the obligatory five green beans on Freddie's plate in the hope that he would eat them. He never did. He might grimace and self-consciously nibble on the end of a bean. More often, he would quietly edge them to the outskirts of his plate and then when I wasn't looking nudge them off the plate, onto the table and thence to the floor. At the end of the meal I would find green beans scattered at his feet. Like a scene from Toy Story, they were motionless but I knew that only moments before, with the help of this pint-sized veg phobic, they had all been part of a brilliantly-planned escape.
They may seem to be harmless but there is a quality to green beans that provokes a violent reaction in my son. And he's not alone. If you look on You Tube, there is a home video entitled "The Green Bean Stand-off". It's almost painful to watch. No doubt some desperate mother posted it to let the world know her frustration. She is gently encouraging her young son to eat a few beans. His response is a professional outburst. If there were Oscars for tantrums, this boy would have wiped the floor. And all this over a green bean.
Freddie told me that the reason he doesn't like green beans isn't their taste but their texture. So to give them a fighting chance I relied on my trusty hand-held blender. We call this the Bits-Blitzer. And it played a vital role in our Green Bean and Garlic Soup recipe.

Green Bean and Garlic Soup

750ml vegetable Stock
400gr Green Beans, topped and tailed
4 tbsp Creme Fraiche
2 medium sized potatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves of roasted garlic
Salt and pepper to season

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Gently saute in olive oil with the finely chopped onion. When the potato has softened and the onion is translucent add the green beans which must be destringed, topped, tailed and chopped! Add the vegetable stock and on a medium heat allow to simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Stir occasionally. Take your roasted garlic cloves and squeeze the soft contents into the soup. Gently simmer for another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Using a handblender, or a liquidizer, puree the soup till it is smooth. Stir in the creme fraiche and serve.

The Green Bean and Garlic Soup scored a respectable 8 out of 10. Our next move will be to see if I can persaude him to eat a green bean without pulverizing it!

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  1. schmoofaloof11:49 AM

    I know a lot of people don't like the 'squeakiness' of green beans, but that's why i love them!

    Cooked till al dente and tossed in a mustardy vinagrette is my favourite way. Does freddie like haricots jaunes? (yellow beans)

    perhaps an idea for y...

  2. Hi, what about trying Ed's recipe for slow cooked Green Beans which is on his blog?

    This recipe looks quite special, I'm certainly going to try it. And I should think after that long slow cook the beans are meltingly soft and delicious.


  3. Schmoofaloof - thanks for that idea. My trouble will be finding the blighters! Haricots Jaune would be great to try.
    Magic Cochin - will head over to Ed's for a look at that!

  4. My favorite way to eat green beans is in Maple-Mustard Glazed String Beans and Potatoes. Who wouldn't like green beans covered in maple syrup?

  5. I like the Moosewood recipe for Roasted Green Beans, and you can make additions or subtractions.

    Brush a baking sheet with 2t olive oil, spread 1 lb trimmed green beans, 1 cup thinly sliced oniln, 10-12 cloves peeled garlic on the pan and add salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for 20-30 minutes, stirring a couple times, until they're as tender as you like. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss in a cup of pine nuts. Serve at any temperature.

    The combination of the roasted onions and vinegar is what I like.

  6. Freddie probably isn't a fan of chili either but we stirfry young green beans briefly in a wok and then mix in a dollop of garlic chili sauce (a Thai or Chinese brand usually - they're red, sweetish and very garlicky) over the heat which changes their character completely.

  7. That soup looks and sounds amazing.

    I can second the green beans with chilli thing as well - yum.

    Or how I had them last night chopped quite small and stirred into a creamy salmon pasta sauce on spagettini.

  8. Anonymous10:18 PM

    What about green bean casserole? there is a recipe for the lazy version here:,198,134186-241192,00.html (canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, canned french fried onions).

    But the basic idea of baking green beans in a flavorful white sauce with crispy onions or cheese should go over well. Since the beans are cooked before the casserole gets put together, then cooked again, they tend to be soft enough to have lost the squeek.


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