If you're anything like me, you have more green beans than you can deal with right now. Even if you don't, this is an easy and versatile dish that can either be a vegetarian side-dish or a meaty main entree. You can even use frozen green beans, so this would be a welcome taste of summer when you're raiding the freezer for vegetables in the middle of winter.
I first had this dish in Jordan, and was pleased to find the recipe at Summer Bahrain's wonderful Mimi Cooks Middle Eastern food blog. I followed her instructions pretty closely, so you can view the recipe there, but I will re-post it here for convenience.
If you want to make this a heartier meaty main-dish, add some ground beef, lamb or beef cubes, or kufta meat balls. It's delicious with rice or as a side-dish. Many of the ingredients are optional, so just make it how you like.
~1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1.5" pieces
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 chili pepper, chopped (optional)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small can tomato paste
2-3 c. water or broth, boiling
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or allspice, whichever you prefer
1-2 fresh tomatoes, diced (optional)
In a medium-sized soup pot, saute the onions in oil until tender and starting to brown. Add the chili pepper and cook 1-2 more minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve the tomato paste in the broth. Add the garlic, green beans, and cilantro to the pot and stir. Add the black pepper, salt, and allspice. Pour the broth mixture over, scraping any onion bits off the bottom of the pan. The beans should be almost submerged, with a few sticking over the broth level (add more broth if necessary).
*If you want to add meat, cook it in a separate pan and then add to the beans before the next step. Deglaze any drippings off the bottom of the meat pan and add them to the beans.
Stir in the tomato chunks and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the green beans are tender. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.