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.
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.
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.