Chinese Beef & Beans
I’ve never really been excited about green beans. Until now. I’m not exaggerating when I say, halving and roasting the beans transforms them from ‘ho-hum’ to ‘OMG-are-there-any-more-beans’. I’m not kidding. They’re that good. The only thing is halving the beans takes a lot of time, but it makes a difference to the results. The halved beans end up crispier and way more tasty so it’s worth it. But if you’re really pushed, see the ‘short on time’ variation below. I like to serve with cauliflower ‘rice’ (grated raw cauliflower).
enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes
450g (1lb) green beans, halved lengthwise
450g (1lb) ground (minced) beef
2-6 fresh chillies, chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bunch mint, leaves picked (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Trim the stalks and discard the bean stalks then halve the beans lengthwise. It’s a bit fiddly but worth it.
2. Toss beans in a little oil and place on a baking tray lined with paper. Bake for 15 minutes (stirring half way through) or until tender and really well browned.
3. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the beef and chilli on a really high heat until the beef is well browned.
4. Remove beef from the heat. When the beans are ready, stir in beans, soy sauce and mint (if using). Taste and season with more soy if needed.
short on time – skip halving the beans (they wont be as crispy though) and allow an extra 5 minutes for them to cook in the oven.
vegetarian / vegan – I’d use crumbled firm tofu instead of the beef. Or try tossing in tempeh, drained cooked white beans, chickpeas or lentils. Or stir fry some some mushrooms instead.
more veg – add in any of your favourite stir fry veg to cook after the beef is done. Red bell peppers (capsicum), snow peas, carrots or green onion would all be lovely. Or you could serve with steamed chinese greens like bok choy or chinese broccoli. Serve with cauliflower ‘rice’.
more complex – toss in some chopped garlic and ginger in with the beef.
tiny person-friendly – either skip or deseed the chilli to keep the heat down (you could add the chilli at the table for any adults).
soy-free /paleo – replace soy sauce with coconut aminos or fish sauce (careful, you may not need as much!).
carb lovers – serve with steamed rice or rice noodles cooked according to the packet.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
green beans – can be frozen but best to use for another meal.
ground (minced) beef – freeze it.
chillies – will keep for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Or can be frozen.
soy sauce – keep it in the pantry.
mint – best to use for another meal. leaves can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted so not ideal. Alternatively make a mint oil by packing washed and dried leaves in a clean dry glass jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil use mint oil to serve with lamb, chicken or fish.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the mint separately. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in a wok or frying pan and top with mint.