Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Green Beans with Baby New Potatoes

Like all great savory recipes, this one starts off with bacon and garlic.  How can it go wrong?  This dish was always, and always will be, a must at family Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.  My grandmothers made it with little red baby new potatoes and so would I, if I could have found them in Kuala Lumpur.

I actually made and photographed this dish just before Thanksgiving but never got around to sharing it.  As Christmas approaches it gets more vital!  This was the second dish I made (See the other one here.) and brought to the Christmas party in Cairo last Friday so you can see how essential to the holidays I believe it is.  

Today, I am off to scout the so-called expat area of Cairo, called Maadi.  You can be sure I will be on the lookout for baby new red potatoes.   

600g fine or regular green beans
400g baby new potatoes
4 cloves garlic
3-4 slices of streaky bacon
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper

If you have genuine new potatoes, just wash them to get rid of any dirt and then scrub the peelings.  If you have to use little ones or large potatoes with thick skins, peel them first and cut to an appropriately small size.

Cut your garlic into thin slices and your bacon into tiny strips.

Top and tail your green beans, then rinse them.  If you are using the regular size, you might want to cut them into small pieces as well.  (Cut them diagonally because it’s more fun and prettier than a straight cut.)

Fry the bacon until crispy and then add the garlic.  Fry for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.  You do not want the garlic to brown because it gets bitter.

Add in potatoes and cook, covered,  for a few minutes.   If it looks too dry, add a small sploosh of olive oil.   Add in the green beans and stir to coat with the bacon grease and olive oil.  Sprinkle in a little salt and the two peppers.

Cook, covered, until the potatoes are done and then till the green beans are as soft as you like them.   If you want your green beans really crunchy, delay adding them until the potatoes are almost cooked.

Check the salt and pepper, adding more if necessary.  Enjoy!

After note:  I had a lovely time with a new friend touring the shops of Maadi, finishing with lunch at a restaurant called Fusion overlooking the River Nile.  Sadly, I did not find any baby red new potatoes.  Yet. 


  1. This looks delicious. I love your picture of water falling on the green beans. I haven't seen that composition on a food blog before, and washing is such a satisfying (and pretty!) part of the preparation process. I look forward to reading through more of your posts.

  2. Green beans and bacon have been part of my Christmas and Thanksgiving tradition too for many years. The potatoes look great but I am sure I would be in trouble if I didn't do mashed potatoes.

  3. No, no, no, Kari! We have mashed potatoes too! And sweet potatoes baked with brown sugar and some Karo - and pecans, if I have any. And if the extended family is coming, even a casserole dish of mac and cheese. Carb overload, yes, but without mashed potatoes, how would I make a bowl for gravy on my plate? In fact, I make these ones here. http://www.foodlustpeoplelove.com/2011/11/extra-rich-creamed-potatoes.html

  4. Thanks for your kind words. In this case, the washing is not only satisfying and pretty, but the little bit of moisture that clings to the beans is essential in cooking, because it ensures that the garlic won't burn. And it creates an equally satisfying hiss and flume of steam when the beans hit the hot bacon and garlic pan!


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