Seven Days of 60s Food: Spanish Green Beans

After the Jello disaster, I feel the need to emphasize that most of what I made in my exploration of 60s food was actually pretty good. Take, for example, this green bean side dish.

small bowl of green beans with more in casserole dish

Spanish Green Beans

Adapted from Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook (1957)

Drizzle of olive oil

Two slices of bacon, diced

1/4 of an onion, finely chopped

1/4 of a green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon flour

1 14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1 cup green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet or a small Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan, followed by the bacon. Cook until the bacon renders its fat and begins to color, then add the onion and pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften and begin to color around the edges, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the flour until it absorbs the remaining fat in the pan and the cook about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and beans. If desired, cover and then transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

***

The only adjustments I made to the recipe were using fresh instead of canned green beans and baking it in the same vessel in which I sautéed (vs. transferring everything to a casserole). I actually preferred the time I used a skillet as it turned out a bit drier with more intensified flavor.

green beans and tomatoes in a skillet

There’s certainly nothing “Spanish” about this recipe–unless we’re generous and consider the onions and peppers a sofrito–but it’s a simple, delicious side that goes with anything else, retro or otherwise. You just can’t go wrong adding bacon to vegetables.

I am massively grateful to Elisabeth Lane of Cooking Up Romance who helped me make this dish and took the first photo in this post.

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7 thoughts on “Seven Days of 60s Food: Spanish Green Beans

  1. I agree it’s not really “Spanish” but it is Mediterranean. There’s a Turkish version of this I make fairly often, only you slow cook everything in lots of olive oil. (Which is pretty much how you cook every kind of vegetable in Turkey.) Although, there is no bacon. ;)

    • There you go! I was being so snobby and assuming that Ms. Corbitt got it wrong, but there might be at least a Mediterranean antecedent for the dish. It is yummy, though. Bacon is never a mistake.

      I think you could probably do a vegetarian version where you up the olive oil and then add a chipotle for smokiness. That would really not be Spanish, but I bet it would taste good.

  2. My abuela used to cook a lot with this kind of bean. She’d have used chorizo not bacon, and I don’t remember her using peppers, but this sounds like something she might have made. She was from Castile, in the centre/north of Spain.

      • For added authenticity maybe add some garlic to complement the onions. Having been brought up with Castilian cooking I think most things savoury could benefit from (Spanish) olive oil and garlic (not tortilla*, though, as far as I can remember, but I gave up trying to make that because mine fell apart and tasted nowhere near as good as my abuela’s or my father’s).

        Just realised that in the US, you might not think a “tortilla” is what I think it is. I mean this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_omelette

  3. It astonishes me that there’s no garlic in here. Almost everything savory that I know how to cook starts with sautéing onion and garlic in olive oil, but there’s very little garlic in the 60s recipes.

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