I know it isn’t popular.
But when my vacation Zen has ended, the mean mom has me in her sights and the garden has thrown me a bunch of overgrown, seedy green beans, mush is what I crave.
This is the way I ate green beans as a child: Simmered in water for hours, usually with a ham hock or bacon thrown in.
This is exactly what cooking and health gurus tell you not to do today. Overcook your beans, they say, and you’ll leach out the vitamins. You’ll lose the beans’ vibrant color. You’ll destroy their crunch.
They’re right on those last two counts (the jury’s still out on the first). But on the plus side, a long boil breaks down overgrown beans’ tough fibers. It turns them silky smooth. It enhances their flavor, gracing them with an almost meaty mouth-feel — no bacon or ham required.
So today, when it feels like the world is against me, overcooked beans are just what I need.
I love mushy beans.
Overcooked Green Beans
Gather as many long, fat, overgrown green beans as you can.
Snap off the ends that attached to the green bean bushes.
Put all the beans in a big pot. Cover them with water, then add lots of salt and pepper. Stick in a bay leaf for good measure.
Cover the pot and place it over low heat. Simmer for at least two hours.
Test a bean for flavor and texture. It should fall apart in your mouth. Serve immediately or let cool and toss with your favorite vinaigrette.