Green Beans Mandarin


No little, tiny orange segments. Mandarin, in this case, refers to the Chinese cuisine that prizes presentation and style as much as flavor. I’m not certain the emperors of old would have looked kindly on having a side dish based on canned green beans set before them, but we’ll go with it for the sake of the mid-century creative department that came up with this concept.

I keep a can or two of green beans (usually Del Monte No Salt Added) in the pantry for a quick and easy veggie – just heating ‘em with some balsamic vinegar, so when I came across this recipe from the 50’s or early 60’s (according to a search for ‘Del Monte Labels by Decade’ on ‘da Google’), I thought I’d give it a try – tho’ I did give the chicken livers wrapped in bacon a pass. THIS. WAS. LOVELY. Not quite as fast as ‘open a can and sprinkle with vinegar’ – but no real hardship to make, either – and TASTY! I also liked the fact that everything I needed to make it was already somewhere in the GBMandarin02bfLOpantry, more or less. Try this, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

•1 can cut green beans (~14 oz)
•2 tbsp blanched almond halves or slivers – I used some English walnuts from the freezer
•1 tbsp cooking oil
•1/2 cup coarsely sliced celery
•2 tsp chicken stock base – I used – FINALLY! – the Ramen noodle seasoning packets leftover from making Chinese Chicken Salad
•1 tsp less-salt soy sauce
•1 tsp sugar
•1 tsp white vinegar
•2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

Pour the liquid from beans and reserve 1/2 cup. Lightly brown almonds (or walnuts) in oil – just until they are aromatic, then add celery and sauté for two minutes.

Add the 1/2 cup bean liquid, stock base (OR leftover Ramen spice packets), soy sauce, sugar and vinegar, cover and simmer three minutes.

Stir in beans and heat through. Add cornstarch/water mixture and heat just until the sauce GreenBeansMandarinthickens.

The recipe says it serves four; I had little trouble eating the whole batch as my main course last night.

GreenBeansMandarin2011LOI’m thinking you could probably adapt fresh or frozen green beans for this – maybe just blanch them first and then carry on – giving you a more ‘dinner party friendly’ side dish.

Thanks to ‘bluwmongoose’ who loaded the advertisement on to flickr® for all the world to share, even if it was posted in the ‘Gee, That Food Looks Terrible!’ pool.

2011 UPDATE: I made these beans again recently, using sliced almonds this time, and they were still tasty – BUT! They were even better as leftovers, served on top of some Basmati rice and sprinkled with a bit of Sriracha.

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