Dark Days: Roasted Green Beans with Potatoes & Bacon

I discovered last week that I am on my last bag of frozen kale, which shocks me; I feel like all I did last summer was blanch and freeze kale. As I uncovered things in the chest freezer (that had been buried under the avalanche of kale) I realized that I have a lot of frozen green beans.  After calling for some green bean inspiration from my fellow Dark Dayers, I got a lot of great recipe ideas, and have made a pretty good dent in the pounds & pounds of frozen green beans.  Thanks go to Rita, Stacey, Marisa, Sarah and Jennie for some fabulous recipes & tips!

I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables in the winter. It warms the house up (well, at least the kitchen, but when you live in a one-room, 900-sf cottage, warming the kitchen = warming the house) and fills the usually stale, dry, wintertime air with lovely, savory smells of garlic, onion or sweet root vegetables.  I’ve never thought about roasting green beans, however; to me, they seem one of the quintissential summer vegetables, best when eaten as fresh as possible, barely steamed to a crisp, bright green and spritzed with a little lemon or balsamic vinegar.  These green beans are a different animal entirely; softer in texture, yes, but also more complex and flavor-filled, crisped on the edges from the roasting and with a mellow sweetness that you simply don’t achieve in the crisp-and-green bean.  The addition of potatoes makes this dish hearty enough for a main course; also, as I note below, substituting chickpeas for potatoes was a delicious variation.  I somehow think my stash of frozen green beans will be going the way of the kale before too long.

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Roasted Green Beans with Potatoes & Bacon

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 – 6 slices bacon, uncooked
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs green beans (fresh or frozen), trimmed and cut to 2-inch lengths (if frozen, rinse under warm water for a minute or two to thaw slightly and to separate the individual beans; drain and toss to remove excess water)
  • 1 lb potatoes, scrubbed and diced to 1/2-inch squares
  • 3 small shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
  • salt & black pepper to taste

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until somewhat crisped, but undercooked (it will continue to cook with the roasting vegetables), about 2 minutes per side.  Remove bacon to a separate plate, strain bacon grease into a small bowl or jar and set both aside to cool.
  3. Combine shallots, garlic, green beans and potatoes in a large bowl.  Add salt & pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp each) and 2 tbsp of the bacon grease.  Chop par-cooked bacon slices to 1/4-inch dice and add to the bowl.  Toss vegetables to coat evenly in grease and spices; transfer to a 9″ X 13″ roasting pan.
  4. Roast until green beans are wrinkly and fragrant, potatoes are tender and bacon is nicely crisped, about 1 hour.  Stir two or three times during cooking.  Serve hot.  Hearty enough to serve as a main dish on its own, or great as a side to roasted turkey or pan-grilled sausage.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.

OPTIONS

  1. The first time we made this dish, Tai & I used a can of chickpeas instead of the potatoes.  The roasted chickpeas were delicious; however, we did not par-cook the bacon for that attempt (just diced uncooked bacon and tossed it with the veggies) and the bacon did not crisp nearly enough for my liking. The chickpeas were fabulous, however, and if I had local chickpeas, I would have used them here.
  2. Cut the potatoes smaller than you might generally use for roasting, so that they will be tender when the green beans are fully roasted.
  3. To keep the green beans a little crisper and/or shorten the time of the recipe, omit the potatoes and simply roast green beans with shallots, garlic and bacon.  Still delicious.

STORE

Best eaten freshly-roasted, however, this will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

SEASON

Technically this could be made year round, with the frozen green beans and storage potatoes, however I like roasted vegetables best in Winter and Spring.

LOCAL RESOURCES

  • Bacon: Applegate Farms, Bridgewater, NJ (The bacon may not be from local pigs but Applegate Farms is instituting a “track your meat” feature on their website, so in the future, we’ll be able to find out which farm the bacon came from! This feature is already in place for turkey and chicken products.  Very cool.).
  • Shallots, garlic, red & Yukon Gold potatoes: Madura Farms, Goshen, NY
  • Green beans: Ryder Farm CSA, Brewster, NY (frozen in Summer ‘09)
  • Salt, pepper: away
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7 comments

  1. Yum! I love the green bean and potato combo. Onion, that sounds like a good addition too. “Wrinkly” green beans might not be as attractive to the eyes of some people, but in this kind of dish they certainly taste good!

  2. Pingback: Dark Days Recap: Week #11 (East and South) « (not so) Urban Hennery

  3. I saw your query on groups, and the same thing happened to me almost the same day–inventoried the freezer and it was half green beans! Note to self: don’t really like green beans as much as I thought….

    But I will have to try this, looks great! Texture was okay? You just threw them in the oven still frozen?

  4. local kitchen

    I did rinse the green beans under warm water for a minute or two, to slightly thaw them, and to be able to toss them with the other veggies. (Which I notice I did not put in the recipe.. I’ll fix that!)

    Since they roast for quite a while with the potatoes, I think it’s OK if they are still mostly frozen when you put them in the oven. Just means that they won’t cook as fast.

    The texture is definitely not the crisp green bean that we enjoy in the summer, but it really is just a different kind of animal. If someone served me steamed green beans that were this soft, I would think “ewww.” But with the roasting they pick up some crispiness to the outside and the softness is soft, but not mushy.

    It’s really worth a try. The chickpeas were excellent as well in this dish. We’ve made three batches, with potatoes or chickpeas, in the last week and we’re still not tired of it!

  5. Anduin

    I made this tonight and loved it. I only used 3 pieces of bacon, substituted an onion for the shallots, used a combo of green and wax beans, and a 1 lb combo of potato, sweet potato, and carrot. Halfway through I turned the oven to 435; the result was crispy, almost blackened beans and perfectly cooked root veggies. I also threw in a bit of sage, but needed a lot more to have an effect. The beans almost tasted like a bite from the “traditional green bean Thanksgiving dish” because they were oniony and crunchy as well as soft and beany. My husband raved that I should make this dish for Thanksgiving. Thanks for giving me a great way to use up those wax beans in the freezer!

    Also, I should note that another great use of green beans and potato comes from “The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper”. As you cook your pasta, add in very thinly sliced potato and green beans. Drain and toss with pesto. To do this with frozen beans, just add them later since you just need to warm them.

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