2lbs. fresh green beans (as fresh as supermarkets can provide)
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
2 whole cloves; peeled, of course
a small wedge or two of lemon
1 28oz. (or close to) can whole or crushed tomatoes. (4 or 5 med. fresh tomatoes, skinned and quarted, will also do effectively)
cinnamon, 1/4-1/2 tsp., depending upon amt. of green beans and taste
salt, 1/2tsp. to start, a bit more as cooks down and to adjust taste
cooking oil (I prefer Canola oil; you can use any veg. oil, but don’t use olive oil)
Water, to cover.
I think I should have stated earlier, but now’s as good a time as any…Take my measurements as estimates, only. Kaukab never measured (as stated earlier), and so, I learned to ascribe to her cooking method, as well. Cooking something new takes rehearsal. Eventually, you do it, relying on all your senses, rather than waiting for a bell to ring (much like Pavlov’s dog) to tell you when the food is done. Plus, my taste buds are home-grown. By that I mean, they were acclimated to my mother’s cooking, as yours was to your’s, so when you taste the “same” recipe, is it ever going to taste exactly as Kaukab’s? Not really. Not at least, according to Kaukab. Mine gets very close–an assertion mildly grating to my mother. But I’ve learned to compromise, and let her have her win. For a woman who defines herself by the extraordinary food she prepares for friends and family, it would be self-serving, and impish of me to grant her anything less. This conciliation (and confession, of sorts) has only come my way in recent years, and I believe I’m the better for it. Now, on to the green beans.
So, now that you have all the ingredients, let’s start.
Wash and string green beans. Drain and paper-towel dry. Snap beans in half.
In pot, pour enough oil in bottom of pot to just come up the sides. Heat oil over med. high heat. Throw in the chopped onions and cook until nearly transluscent. Toss in the green beans and cinnamon, stirring with the onions until green beans begin to turn yellowish–up to 5min, maybe. (This is where you’re going to start learning to use your eyeballs.) Then add tomatoes. If whole, or fresh, break them up in the pot. Stir around.
Add water, enough to cover beans about an inch, or so, above them. Add salt. Cover with lid, partially tilted. Once boiling, stir, and then return lid (partially tilited, of course) and turn down heat to medium. Let cook about 30 min. and check for liquid reduction. Stir. Add more salt, if needs. Turn down heat to med. low. Squeeze a wedge or two of lemon, for a bright note of flavor. Continue cooking until tomato liquid is rich red and somewhat thickened–usually an additional 20 -30 min.
Serve with pita bread. Of course. As an aside: These beans are really good served cold, or at room temperature the next day. With pita bread.