greek green bean stew (fasolákia fréska)

August 19, 2013 § 66 Comments

I’ll never forget this wonderful green bean and tomato stew I enjoyed on a number of occasions while visiting beautiful Greece.  These green beans served at room temperature alongside a nice brick of creamy feta fast became my favorite Greek comfort food.    After several attempts to recreate these succulent tender beans I have finally captured all the flavors, tender consistency and comfort I remember in this stew.

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My esteemed possession from my visit to the island of Siphnos is a tiny paperback cookbook titled The Best Greek Dishes authored by Mdm. Margaret Phoca.   I have referred to this little gem of a cookbook over and over again and have turned out a  flawless (in my opinion) spanakópita, braised lamb and stewed potatoes, to name a few.  Finally after many failed attempts to cook the perfect green bean stew at home I referred to this tiny cookbook and after making a few minor adjustments I have perfected a delicious bowl of fasolákia fréska.

A simple one pot meal.

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Normally we eat green beans steamed just enough for them to turn a stunning green and yet still a little crisp.  After a quick steam bath we toss them in olive oil and salt and savor every single one of them.  However, green beans are delightful after stewing in a flavorful tomato sauce for an hour or so. They become meltingly tender, sweet, silky and stew like.  Although my tiny recipe book recommends serving these cold, these beans are best if left in the pot overnight in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before serving.

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I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pound green beans, washed and tails removed
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup basil, torn
  • 1/2 cup dill, torn
  • 4 ounces of good quality feta, in brine, crumbled

M e t h o d

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until it is soft and transparent.  Add the beans to the pot and stir well until each bean is coated well with the onion and oil.  Continue cooking and tossing for a few minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and cover for a few minutes to allow them to steam a little.  After a couple of minutes uncover the pan and stir,  the tomatoes should be thickening at this point.  Cover and steam a few more minutes while the tomatoes reduce a little.

Once the tomatoes are nice and thick (stew consistency) uncover the pan and simmer, uncovered for one hour stirring occasionally.  Taste for salt and season to your liking.

Allow to sit for a couple of hours and brought to room temperature before serving.

Top each serving with basil, dill and crumbled feta.

Serves 4.

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