Healthy(ish) New Year: Green Bean Bundles


February 6, 2010 by skwishface

A while back, I made a recipe that took a rich, decadent dish and lightened it up into something healthier.

This recipe is just like that. Only opposite.

Perfectly wholesome and nutritious green beans, wrapped in magical pig meat and slathered in the fattest part of cow juice. Doesn’t that sound appetizing? And SO GOOD for you!

I refuse to feel bad about this dish. It got The Husband to eat thirty actual green beans. Thirty. Three-zero. I know this, because that’s part of the genius of the dish – you know precisely how many beans are going on to each plate. It really satisfies the control freak in me.

Green Bean Bundles
100 whole green beans (fresh, canned, or frozen)
5 slices of bacon, cut in half
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar, white or brown
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

(printable version of this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen)

Hint: you can always tell when I’ve made up a recipe as I went along, because the proportions of ingredients are all balanced. I’m a nerd that way.

Also, this would probably work beautifully with other veggies, like asparagus. Mmmm, asparagus. But I’m pushing The Husband’s limits with green beans as it is, so … if you try this with asparagus, please know that I envy you.

We begin this dish as we should begin all things good and right.

With melted butter.

Isn’t it lovely? To this, we add …

Sugar! Whose presence drastically alters the lighting in photographs.

 (Note: I used regular white sugar because it’s what I had. Brown sugar would also be delicious.)

Soy sauce! Rather sinister looking as it overshadows garlic salt and pepper.

Stir it all together and give it a taste. Add more sugar if you want more candy-coated green bean goodness. Or, if you’re feeling sassy (and I often do!)…

Add a boatload more black pepper.

The butter doesn’t really want to play nice with the soy sauce, so I used a fork as a quasi-whisk. To whisk it into shape. I am the queen of kitchen improvisation.

Set the butter mixture aside and turn your attention to the green beans. They’re out of season right now, so alls I could find were frozen “long” beans.

At the tail end of winter, 3 inches or so counts as a "long" bean.

If you have even the slightest inclination towards anal-retentiveness, this recipe is for you! Cuz the next step is sorting the beans out into groups of ten, making sure that all beans in each group are roughly the same length.

Arranging the piles into neat rows is not required, but I would go mad if I didn't.

Once you’ve got your beans sorted, it’s time to do the right thing.

To give your beans the gift that all foods secretly want.

To raise the beans up to heights of culinary greatness they could not achieve on their own.

And just how is such magic achieved?

By wrapping them in bacon, of course.

Each bundle is neatly wrapped in a half-slice of thin-cut bacon. The great thing about bacon is that it’s rather elastic, so it allows you to cinch the beans together in a tight little bundle. Then you just skewer the bundle crossways with a toothpick to hold it together.

Oh, bacon. Is there anything you can’t do?

Lay out your bacon-wrapped bean bundles in a baking dish. Then say a quick prayer of forgiveness to your arteries….

And pour the butter mixture all over the bundles.

Get it on the bacon, down in between the beans in each bundle, just everywhere. You’ll be glad you did.

Now, at this point, you can cover this and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours. That’s what I did – these beans were for dinner, and as you can tell by the bright and ample natural lighting in these photos, it was nowhere near dinnertime when I assembled these little darlings. Or you can cook ’em up right away. Whatever floats yer boat!

A word about the cooking. The cook time depends entirely on what sort of beans you’re using. For canned beans, they’ll only need about 20-25 minutes – just long enough to cook the bacon and crisp the beans a bit. For frozen or fresh beans, cook time will be more like 30-35 minutes. This is my best guesstimate, since I’ve never met your oven and I don’t know its particular quirks.

Regardless of the beans in use, heat your oven to 350. If this seems a bit low for cooking bacon, recall that there’s sugar in the sauce. It’ll burn, baby, burn if you’re not careful.

Fast-forward to dinnertime! The light has failed me, my counterspace is devoured by various dinnery things, and my grean beans are done. Sadly, I have nowhere to put them but on top of a grill pan, on top of my stove, under the glaring hood light. Joy!

Photos like this make me wish someone would invent a way to smell through the internet. But then I think what such technology would do in the wrong hands, and I want to cry.

Seriously, it smells soooooooo good in my kitchen at this moment. The bacon and the butter have conspired to make a dish full of rich, tangy sauce that’s rather perfect for spooning up over your grean beans.

I picked three bundles (30 beans!) and slapped ’em down on a plate with a super-easy fake-out chicken cordon bleu. Which is a story for another time.


Unintended but delightful side effect of the bacon wrapping: if you slice each bundle in half crossways (removing, of course, the toothpick), you get two perfectly packaged bite-size hunks of green bean. No need to chase individual beans across a plate, or have awkward uneven beans flopping around on your fork. Brilliant!

I don’t have a picture of this phenomenon because, frankly, I was too busy stuffing my face at the time.



One thought on “Healthy(ish) New Year: Green Bean Bundles

  1. […] I recommend plating up this chicken with a handful of green bean bundles. Your tastebuds will thank you. […]

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