Saturday, June 16, 2007
G is for Green Beans, slow-braised
I have read that it takes a child between 10 and 90 tastes of a new food before they learn to accept it. Now I'm not sure of the science behind this statement but I like to look at it differently. I don't know if simply offering the same food repeatedly is what makes a difference. Presenting the same food cooked in very different ways, seems to give us more success. In the past, Freddie and I made no progress when I just placed the five green beans on his plate. We would have the same stand-off; the mealtime equivalent of Groundhog Day. But if you make the green beans look different, taste different at least you are helping to create change. They can't react in exactly the same way. A chance comment left on the blog led me to a recipe by Ed, the Slowcook in Washington DC. He describes himself as an urban insurgent and rails against fast food and the cult of the celebrity chef. "It's time to take back control of the food we eat and the pace of our own lives". He is passionate about eating good local food when it is in season and runs food appreciation and cookery classes for children.
Writing about green beans he advises that you have to chose between flavour and colour and that slow-cooking the beans maximises the flavour. Here is the link.
Inspired by Ed's recipe, I made some changes to suit Freddie's tastebuds.
Slow Cooked Green Beans
450g green beans, topped.
1 medium onion finely chopped
400g can of chopped tomatoes.
A twist of freshly ground black pepper.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Half a teaspoon of smoked paprika
2-3 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into small chunks or use gammon steak
Use a flameproof casserole dish or pan with a tight fitting lid. On the hob, cook the onion in the oil on a medium heat until it is translucent and soft. Add the paprika,tomatoes and green beans which have had their stalks cut off. Add the bacon pieces. Mix together and simmer on a low heat for at least three hours. You may have to add a very small amount of water every now and again if it needs. The beans will break down and become far less fibrous.
Thanks to Ed's inspiration, Freddie has now found a way of loving green beans. Not just putting up with them, or merely tolerating them occasionally but actually consuming them with passion. All thanks to the Slow Cook.