Friday, February 21, 2014

Easy Steamed Green Beans for People Who Don't Have a Steamer

I love green beans steamed. Boiled, they seem to go from raw to gummy with no stopover at "nicely cooked" in between. I tried dropping them into oil and stir-frying them raw and they just went kind of leathery. But I don't have a steamer, so I made up this really easy way to steam them that only needs a pot that has a lid.

First, the string beans! I top and tail them first, some people don't care.
You can use scissors or a knife, or do like I do and just pinch them off with your nails.
Which also gives you a nice excuse to be too lazy to cut your nails.

Next, the cooking water!
You don't need more than a quarter inch, if that. This much is just right:

Even if you're doing a whole pot of them instead of one serving, that is all the water you need. It doesn't matter that most of them are not even touching the water. They're going to be cooked by the water boiling up and rising through the pot as steam. I have tried salting and seasoning this water, but it didn't really take to the beans. So just save your seasoning for when they're done. 

Now, put the water over medium heat until you see it start to steam and you get bubbles in the bottom of it. It won't really be boiling, because it'll dry up before it reaches a rolling boil.

Now, dump in your string beans! Put the lid and immediately turn the heat down to a low, low simmer. How long you want them to cook depends on how tender you like them. If you like them really snappy, you can check in 5-10 minutes. They start to get tender around 10-15. If you cook them longer than 10 minutes or so, add another splash of water, clap the lid back on, and shake and swirl it vigorously about to make sure everything's wet and that nothing's sticking to the pan. Just minimize how often you open the lid or else you'll let out all the steam that's supposed to be cooking your green beans.

I didn't notice the microwave at the time, but I kind of like having the words Magic Chef just sort of put themselves in my picture.
Now you can add salt and seasonings to taste (salt and pepper are good enough for me), oil or butter if you like (I usually skip that), and eat!

If it's hot out, you can try putting them in ice water and serving them very cold. As for me, I prefer them still very warm.

1 comment:

  1. I've never tried them cold. That sounds like an interesting idea. And this recipe is so easy!