Thank goodness our Gulf Coast is just a short distance from the growing area of central and southern Florida where conditions are ideal for year-round harvesting of crops. Take the green beans in today's recipe for instance. Grown all year in Florida, finding fresh vegetables off the vine is great for us living fairly close. Heck, I imagine the crops are shipped all over in no time flat.
High in vitamin A, green beans are great deliverers of riboflavin and thiamine. Always look for the freshest, longest pods that are easily snapped between the fingers giving a crisp, snap sound. Try to avoid packaged beans that you can't feel and especially pods that bulge from the pods as these indicate tough, older produce. When you see a ridge forming on the bean, it probably got harvested too late. Store you green beans for a short time in the refrigerator, ideally between 45 and 50 degrees F. Leave the beans whole as this will prevent loss of nutrients.
Now, today's recipe is really nothing new, I mean, it is just one of many ways we cook fresh green beans around these parts. Like most foods we like to prepare, even vegetables get extra treatment guaranteeing exceptional taste. Enjoy!
Seasoned Fresh Green Beans
about 8 servings
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
8 oz smoky link sausage or Cajun sausage, diced
1 large onion, sliced vertically
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic toes, minced
1/3 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
Remove the ends from the green beans and cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch random lengths. Place in a bowl of cold water and let hydrate for about 30 minutes. Drain and put aside.
Cook the sausage in a large saucepan or skillet over medium high heat until lightly browned. Remove sausage and put aside. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of renderings from pan and discard. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, sausage and the beans. Bring to a simmer; taste and add salt, pepper as needed. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in red peppers and cook another 10 minutes.