When I used to live by the beach in Redondo Beach many years ago, there was a small Lebanese restaurant near my apartment that I used to go in to on a regular basis. My standard was their wonderful Lentil Soup, but one of the other dishes that I loved was their slow cooked Green Beans in Tomato Sauce. Nowadays, most people cook their Green Beans so that they are still crisp, but once in a while, I really like soft, tender Green Beans. That restaurant has long since closed and I don't live down there anymore either, so I've been making Green Beans their way ever since. I found out that the special seasoning was Allspice, which is one of those spices that goes so perfectly with Tomatoes. I like to use fresh Tomatoes, as I think the flavor is so much better, but in the winter, canned Tomatoes work well too. Just be sure to add a bit of Sugar to sweeten up the somewhat acidic canned Tomatoes. I've also found out that it is common for Green Beans to be cooked until they are soft in many Mediterranean countries. But, if you only like your Green Beans crisp, just don't cook them so long!
Lebanese Green Beans
1 pound Green Beans, washed with the ends snipped off
6 Roma Tomatoes (or 1-14 oz can of chopped Tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of Sugar)
1 small Onion or 2 Shallots, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup of Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
a pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper
Bring a small pot of Water to a boil and drop in the Tomatoes for 1 minute. Remove and peel. Then scrape out the seeds and chop.
In a large frying pan (with a lid), heat the Olive OI land add in the Onions (or Shallots) and Garlic Cloves. Cook until you can smell their fragrance. Then add in the Tomatoes and cook until the Tomatoes break down to form a sauce. Add in the Broth and bring to a boil. Then add in the Green Beans, sprinkle with the Allspice, Salt and Pepper and toss. Return to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the Green Beans for 30 - 40 minutes or until the Green Beans are very soft.
Five Element Analysis
Green Beans are a Wood Food and either of the Broth and Olive Oil both add some more. The Tomatoes bring in the Fire Element and the Metal Element is found in the Allspice, Onions and Garlic. If you serve this side dish with a Water main dish, like Fish and serve a sweet dessert, you will have a completely balanced meal!