As literal as this translation is, I have to admit that it doesn’t sound appetizing in English. Honestly, I’d call it either a casserole or a saute, but those names conjure up images of green beans in a pyrex dish with mushroom soup and french fried onions. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds good, too, but these descriptions don’t do this traditional favorite any justice. This is a delicious combination of fresh green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and an olive-oil/butter based broth that can be meatless if you so choose.
This is one meal that no matter who makes it, (Sorry Hatice and Fatma [sisters-in-law]) does not compare to the one my Kaynana (mother-in-law) makes. We have asked for a formal recipe but since many meals are made from memory, we used our rough idea and played with it until we got the same flavor. The difference between mine and Kaynana‘s is that her green beans get so soft that they split and are almost disintegrated into the sauce. This may be achieved by cooking longer at a lower temperature, but I have yet to find the right combination. I will update this when I can try it in the crockpot!
*If you are familiar with this recipe, you know that everyone has their own personal favorite version. Some varieties are vegetarian, some don’t use potatoes, some add carrots. Add and subtract ingredients until you find something that works for you. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe that’s hard to truly mess up!
**To clarify, using the term ”
Zeytinyağlı” with a recipe suggests that the food is not only prepared with olive oil but also served cold (not required to be heated). When meat is added, and therefore requiring heat, the title refers to the ingredients (Etli Taze Fasulye-Green beans with meat). The recipe here implies that the green beans (made with or without meat) are cooked and use olive oil. Thank you to my former neighbor, Nejla Kar, for help with differentiating!**
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 c.)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. (4 oz) Ground beef or lamb
salt and pepper
4 c. (1 lb) fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
4 c. water or chicken stock
2 tbsp. tomato paste
Melt 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and onions and cook over medium heat until softened. Add the ground beef and pepper and salt (to taste). Brown about 3 minutes.
Stir and cover, leaving it to cook over med-high heat for about 45 minutes, or until the green beans and potatoes are soft. Add liquid if necessary.
Serve over rice.