I offered to bring a few things to Thanksgiving with my in-laws this year, including these rolls, a pie (still undecided on what I’m going to do) and a green bean dish. I thought about doing these green bean salads, but my sister-in-law is bringing a green salad and I didn’t want to double up. So I went in search of a green bean dish that wasn’t a rich heavy casserole, even though I love the stuff, but was still special. These green bean bundles are the perfect compromise.
I wanted something that wasn’t going to occupy too much stove or oven space and wouldn’t take too long. You can blanch the beans in advance, and partially cook the bacon beforehand, which means a quick 15-20 minutes in the oven is all you need to finish these off.
The original recipe I found here on Williams-Sonoma’s site. I changed a few things and was amazed at the results. The bacon becomes almost candied in the butter and maple syrup sauce, so these are a bit decadent but since you’re eating vegetables you’re going to be fine. It’s Thanksgiving after all. Nothing wrong with candied bacon on Thanksgiving.
I think these are adorable in their little individual bundles. It does require more work, but nothing too intense. With all the other sides you really only need one bundle per person, but make some extra just in case.
With Thanksgiving just a week away I wish you happy and stress free meal planning, traveling, prepping, baking and cooking. But most of all I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you thoroughly enjoy the day with family and friends!
Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles
Makes about 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds green beans (6-8 green beans per bundle)
8 strips of thick-cut bacon cut in half crosswise, 16 pieces total
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Trim and blanch the green beans: Trim the end off of the beans. Boil a large pot of water and prepare a big bowl of ice water. Cook the beans for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain, then plunge into the ice water. Remove from the water and pat dry with towels. Proceed with the recipe or store beans in the fridge for up to 1 day.
Cook the bacon: Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon partially, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Do not let it get crispy or you won’t be able to wrap the bacon around the beans. Proceed with the recipe or store the bacon in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
Melt the butter and whisk in the syrup, salt and rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
Wrap 6-8 green beans in one piece of bacon and lay on the parchment seam side down. Repeat with all the beans.
Drizzle each bundle lightly with the butter mixture. You may have some leftover, which you can either drizzle on the beans or toss depending on how much sauce you want.
Bake the bundles for about 15 minutes, until bacon is crisp. Move to a platter and serve.
There is a special place in my heart for creamy green bean casserole. The kind with the canned crunchy fried onions, and the canned cream of mushroom soup. You know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t you should try it at least once. But sometimes that Thanksgiving meal can be a little heavy on the creamy casseroles and you want (and likely need) something light and refreshing in the mix to balance things out. This salad is a delicious way to provide some balance in your meal while still keeping is special.
Something about the combination of warm toasted pecans, tangy sweet cranberries and robust blue cheese just sings of the season we’re entering. The weather is cooler and richer flavors are in order. Although, I’d eat this salad in the summertime with no problem.
You can serve these as lovely first course salads on individual salad plates, or arrange them on a large platter and allow guests to serve themselves. The bibb lettuce leaves hold up well, so there’s little need to worry about them tearing, unless they’ve been sitting too long so don’t prepare them all the way too far in advance. If you’re really needing this to be a quick and painless salad you can tear up a bunch of bibb lettuce, toss in the dressed beans, cranberries, blue cheese and pecans and serve this as a large serve-yourself salad. You might want to double the dressing if you plan to serve it that way, though.
You can cook the beans up to 2 days ahead and keep them in the fridge. The beans also hold up well in the fridge after being dressed, so you can prepare them up to that point hours ahead of time, but not longer than a day. Mix in the cranberries, but not the blue cheese or pecans, they’ll get soggy if they sit too long. Sprinkle on the blue cheese and pecans right before serving.
I tend to under-dress salads when serving them to a group. I hesitated to add all the dressing to the beans, but it was the perfect amount. There’s just enough that drips off onto the lettuce.
Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries
From Fine Cooking
1/2 pound haricots verts (french green beans) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 to 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
6 large bibb lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain the beans, then plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, pat dry and move to a bowl. If making ahead, place beans in an airtight container and put them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, mustard and olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Toss beans and cranberries in the dressing to coat evenly. You can refrigerate the beans at this point for up to 1 day.
To serve: divide beans evenly among the lettuce leaves and sprinkle each with pecans and blue cheese.
Last weekend we went out of town to visit family and I brought my camera. I didn’t even take it out of the case the entire weekend, but still managed to leave it at my aunt’s house. So, for the time being I will be using my iPhone to document my food. This does bring me some relief since I will be able to put less pressure on myself to get the perfect shot. No moving plates of food from room to room, turning on and off lights, standing next to windows and changing settings on the camera. So I guess forgetting my camera is a blessing.
This meal was an adaptation of a recipe I found on epicurious, here is the link to the original recipe that uses snap peas and capers. I used haricots verts, added cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced my potatoes and used some different seasonings. Instead of grilling the packets, I baked them in the oven. Many of the comments on the website talk about the variations on this dish and all the many things you can use to make these packets fit what you like or what you have in the kitchen.
Ben and I both thought it was a nice, light dinner. We also liked the amount of clean up! As long as you don’t cut through the foil (like I did on one of the packets) you won’t have any pots and pans to clean. There are a few things I would do differently the next time I make these. I’d probably skip the tomatoes. While I love the color they add, they were just too mushy. Maybe a few slices of sun-dried tomatoes would have been better, or roast them separately and toss them on after the fish is baked. I’d also add less liquid, or serve with some nice crusty bread to soak up the sauce. If you want it less saucy, shoot for the smaller amount of liquid listed below. I did not make my foil long enough, so everything was really crammed together in the packets.
For the seasoning I used Citrus Seafood Rub from Adams Reserve seasoning that I bought at HEB. The ingredient list printed on the label includes garlic, onion, coriander, dill weed, tarragon, pepper, paprika, fennel seed, lime and lemon oil. If you can’t find this rub, but I would suggest you at least try to find it because it is so delicious, you could use some of the spices listed in the rub, or find another seafood rub or any spice mix you enjoy.
Tilapia Packets with Potatoes and Haricots Verts
4 tilapia fillets
2-3 red potatoes, thinly sliced, larger slices halved
1-2 cups haricots verts, cut in half
12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
salt and pepper
Adams Citrus Seafood Rub (or another seafood seasoning you like)
1 lemon, juiced
2-4 tablespoons white wine or chicken broth
2-3 tablespoons butter
Parsley, freshly chopped, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Toss potatoes and haricots verts with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Cut 4 pieces of heavy duty foil into 18-inch pieces, fold each in half, then unfold. Spray one side with cooking spray and lay one fillet down. Season with salt, pepper and between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of the spice rub. Sprinkle with 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Take 1/4 of the vegetables and spread them around the fish. Add halved cherry tomatoes now if using. Fold up the sides of the foil and pour 1/2-1 tablespoon of wine around the edge. Dot the top with a few small pieces of butter. Fold the top of the foil down and crimp all the edges together. Cut a small slit in the top of the packet and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining fillets and bake packets for 15-20 minutes. Check a potato slice for doneness.