This delicious dish is one of the hundreds of dishes in the family of ‘those prepared with olive oil.’ It seems to be handed down from generation to generation and is a widely known recipe in Turkey. This recipe basically cooks itself and is highlighted most by its individual ingredients. The flavor is directly enhanced by the quality and freshness of the beans, the olive oil, the onions and tomatoes. One of the beauties of this dish is that the ingredients can be found almost anywhere globally. Here in Turkey, the best results happen when prepared in the summertime and with produce found at the local farmer’s markets.
It is generally served as a starter, sometimes among other mezes (aka tapas or small plates) but can also be delightful all on its own as an afternoon snack.
Note: Some folks add water to the pot before cooking, but we add none, preferring to seal the lid on the pot tightly and slow-cooking until the beans and tomatoes give up their own juices. Another nice technique is to lightly caramelize the onions in a skillet before adding them to the pot, but it’s also not necessary.
- Yield: About 9 or 10 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 45 minutes or so
- Active: Roughly 1 hour
- 1 kilo flat green beans (as tender and fresh as possible)
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium-sized, chopped yellow onions
- 4 medium-sized, fresh and flavorful, peeled and chopped tomatoes
- 8 whole fresh garlic cloves
- 3 teaspoons white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Wash the beans, then trim the edge ends and pull the fibrous string from the side edge of each bean. (Maybe 15 minutes or so.)
- Cut beans in half diagonally, or if beans are long cut in three parts. (This is merely a style thing as they don’t even necessarily need to be cut.)
- The ingredients should be layered into the cooking pot. First add the beans, then the onions, then tomatoes, then garlic cloves, then sugar and salt.
- Seal the pot with the lid and cook on low fire for about 45 minutes. The point in which they can be determined to be done is when juices have mingled and reduced, the beans are cooked soft yet not mushy, firm enough yet not rigid. When you can cut it with a fork without trying to crush your way through the bean, you should be all set.
- Kill the fire and let sit in covered pot until it is room temperature or colder. (The dish can also be served hot, and it is quite tasty this way as well.)
- Serve on its own, drizzled with a little of the olive oil and maybe a side of fresh yogurt.