Green Beans with Smoke, Spice and Everything Nice

“Everything nice” sounds like an inviting recipe, right?  Truly, it’s a tasty combination of flavors, especially if you enjoy a Southwestern palate.  How then do the green beans go from being plain to smoky and spicy and everything nice?  Simple: the cook adds the seasoning.  Such a profound concept of grace imbedded in a recipe!   The green beans are unable to become seasoned on their own.

As you sink your teeth into this dynamic combination of flavors, consider Ephesians 2:8-9…”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Now, that is something amazing to give thanks for during this season of gratitude – I mean, “seasoning” of gratitude.  ~Lauren

1 1/2 lbs. green beans (as thin and tiny as possible), washed and ends trimmed

4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced evenly

2 large shallots, halved lengthwise, peeled, and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (more or less to your taste)

* optional: 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Put a skillet over medium heat and add bacon.  Cook until bacon fat has rendered and pieces are crispy to your liking.  Set aside.  (At this time, you may drain some of the fat off if you desire but leave at least 2 tablespoons.)

3. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for about 3 minutes or until beans or tender and bright green in color, not mushy and army green.

4. While green beans are cooking, return to the skillet to finish the sauce.  Place skillet over medium heat again and add shallots.  Cook until soft.  Turn up heat to medium high and add minced garlic.  Once it sizzles (being careful not to let it brown), add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, chipotles, a generous pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper.  Stir ingredients and allow tomatoes to become soft.

5. Drain green beans and add to the hot skillet and toss.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

Serves 6-8

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