Lebanese Green Beans

This is our new absolute favorite way to eat green beans!

This is the dish known as “Lubyi bi Zayt” in Arabic, or Green Beans in Olive Oil. Recipes vary widely – by cook, by village, by region of Lebanon. Sometimes a housewife might add a little chopped meat to the browning onions. Sometimes the dish might have a hot chili, or lemon juice, or allspice, or tomato paste. The basic idea is to sauté and then braise green beans with tomatoes, onions, and garlic. The following recipe is a loose version of what I do.     – Leila Abu-Saba

1 pound green beans, ends snapped, strings removed, beans snapped in half
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil (you can use less but it affects flavor and texture)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced fine (some recipes use lots more garlic, peeled only, not cut)
1 pound tomatoes (2 large?), peeled and cut into chunks, or one 28 oz can, drained
Ground Allspice
pinch of sugar

Sauté the onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add green beans, sauté until they get a bit of color and onion turns golden. Add garlic, sauté another minute, then add tomatoes, salt (1/2 tsp? – to taste), black pepper, 1/4 tsp. allspice and a pinch of sugar. The measurements here are to taste, very elastic. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, turn down heat, cover the pan and simmer until tender. Time is controversial – Middle Easterners like their green beans very soft. I go for 20 minutes, checking at 15; some Arabic recipes say  35 minutes. You be the judge.