Green beans are the classic Thanksgiving vegetable. They are often the only green thing on the table. This year, I encourage you to make as many green things as you’d like. I also recommend that when it comes to the vegetables: keep it simple!
Last year, I was told by the most qualified chef I know the single most important piece of Thanksgiving cooking advice: Make as much ahead of time as you can. The vegetables are one of those things that usually need to be cooked last since they don’t take long to cook. And no matter how much cooking I tried to do in advance, that last hour or two before serving feels like utter chaos. You’re going to be busy making gravy, stuffing and trying to talk to your lovely guests you’ve invited. So trust me, you’ll want the veggies to be pretty simple. And when I say simple, I don’t mean boring.
Carmelizing some shallots to toss in with your green beans gives them a fancy kick that everyone will gobble down. And most importantly, most of it can be prepped well in advance. The green beans can be boiled a day in advance and stored chilled, and the shallots can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time and left covered at room temperature, which I highly recommend. All you have to do is toss them together in a skillet for a few minutes before serving. This recipe is based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, Decemeber 2006.
Green Beans with Carmelized Shallots
- 1 1/2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed
- 3/4 lb shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Cook green in boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain well and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.
Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until shallots are browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add green beans to shallots in skillet and stir over medium-high heat until heated through, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.