Green Beans n Shallots

I have never had a green bean casserole that I really enjoyed, it just reminds me of canned, lethargic green beans and gelatinous canned cream of mushroom soup…ick!!  The green bean casserole seems like somewhat of an afterthought, something that you throw into a dish at the last minute and pass off as a “healthy vegetable” so you feel less guilty about stuffing yourself silly with homemade dinner rolls, buttery stuffing and 5 varieties of pie a la mode.   Face it, nobody ever says “awe, too bad were out of green bean casserole!”  So here is my alternative.  It’s super easy to prepare, you can do most of it the day before, and it’s a whole lot  healthier than traditional green bean casserole.  I guarantee people will be asking to please pass the green beans at Thanksgiving this year!  ~Janna

DSC_0320Ingredients:

1lb fresh green beans or french beans (I actually prefer French beans, because they’re more tender and delicate).
2 Tbs olive oil
1 med shallot
salt to taste

Method
:

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To begin, start by cutting the stem and tip off of the green beans.  You can leave the ends on and just cut the stem off but I think they look more uniform when cut on both ends.  Rinse green beans in cold water.

Next you will blanch the green beans.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil (about 8 cups), also prepare a large bowl full of ice water.  Once your water is boiling put in the green beans and boil for 2-4 minutes, depending on how soft you like them.

When done, immediately submerge the beans in the ice water.  This will stop the cooking process and the beans will keep their bright green color.  At this point you can refrigerate the beans to finish later or you can finish now.  If you are finishing the beans later I would not blanch more than 24 hours in advance (unless you are freezing them) to prevent the beans from getting too soggy and limp.  Store in a gallon zip top bag or in an air tight container.

Take the beans out of the ice water and blot dry.  Mince the shallot and set aside.

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In a large skillet on med/high heat the olive oil, once hot, add the green beans and toss a few times.  Add the minced shallot and cook a few minutes until shallots are tender and beans are hot through.  Add salt to taste and enjoy!
GB&Shallots     GB&Shallots2

Porter Braised Corned Beef

I don’t make Corned Beef often, but when I do I’m never disappointed. How can you go wrong with a tender, juicy piece of meat that requires so little prep and tastes so good? I love the beer in this recipe too, it adds a rich, smoky flavor to the brisket. What can I say, you just need to make it and taste for yourself. ~Joanie

Remember: If you buy your spices in the bulk section you can get the exact amount you need without buying an entire bottle.

Ingredients

1 Corned Beef Brisket, approx 2 ½ – 3 lbs (a flat cut will get better immersion in the braising liquid)
2 Large Shallots or 1 Small onion, quartered
5 Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Pickling Spice (some usually comes with the brisket, but you may need more)
2 tsp Caraway Seeds
2 12-oz bottles of porter (I used my favorite, Black Butte Porter. You can really use any dark beer)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a dutch oven or deep roasting pan. Braise in a 250*F for about 4 hours. Add the dill and allow meat to braise for 1 more hour. This is a good time to prep your side dishes. I served my brisket with garlic mashed potatoes and pan gravy.

To make the pan gravy, remove some of the braising liquid and strain it into a sauce pan. Add water to dilute the saltiness. Turn heat on medium-high. Mix about ½ cup cold water with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, slowly add a the cornstarch liquid a tablespoon at a time to the simmering gravy. Once the gravy thickens and begins to bubble, turn off the heat. Strain again if you have lumps. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the brisket from braising liquid and separate into portions, removing the fatty pieces.

Plate with your favorite sides and enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!