Saturday, August 15, 2015

Green Beans with Bacon and Gluten Free Noodles

Many years ago before I really started cooking seriously, I would occasionally buy frozen food and one thing that I really liked was Bird's Eye Green Beans with Spaetzle in Bavarian Sauce. Being half German, I like those Bavarian flavors, even though I knew it wasn't very authentic. It's been a long time since I've had those frozen vegetables, but I remembered those flavors tonight because I had a package of frozen green beans that someone in the family bought from Whole Foods and I needed to make room in the freezer. So, I decided to cook them and recreate that recipe. Guess what?  It was really good! I replaced the Spaetzle with Gluten Free Spaghetti noodles broken into small pieces and I used Bacon, Shallots and Chicken Broth as the flavoring components and then thickened it just slightly with cornstarch so that the sauce would cling to the beans. It came together in about 20 minutes and it was just as it should be - the salty, chewy bacon combined with succulent green beans and the al dente pasta mixed together to make a delicious savory sauce. I would probably like it even better with fresh green beans, but I have to admit that I was shocked how good it was with the frozen ones.  And, if you are not doing gluten free, I think homemade Spaetzle would take this dish to another level.  

Green Beans with Bacon and Noodles

1 lb bag of Frozen Green Beans (or fresh Green Beans, trimmed)
2 strips of Bacon, cut into a small dice equal to about 1/3 cup
1/2 Shallot, minced - about 1/3 cup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water and made into a slurry
1/2 cup Gluten Free Spaghetti Noodles (I used DeLallo), broken into small pieces and boiled according to package directions - cooked until al dente - and drained 
Fresh ground Pepper to taste

In a frying pan with high sides, cook the Bacon until just starting to brown and add the Shallots. Cook until the soften. Add in the Green Beans and the Chicken Broth and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 5 minutes (10 if using fresh Green Beans). Mix in the cooked Noodles and the Cornstarch slurry. Cook until sauce thickens and becomes clear. Season with pepper and serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

Green Beans belong to the Wood Element and the Chicken Broth adds even more, so this is a primarily Wood dish. But, the Bacon brings in the Water Element and the Shallot contributes the Metal Element and so do the noodles, just a bit because they are made of Rice, which is Metal and Corn, which is Earth. The Earth is just barely there and the Fire Element is missing. To add things to make this a balanced meal, serve it with a a Fire dish, like a salad and an Earth main dish, like something made with Beef to create a Five Element balance.

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