Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Small Batch Preserving: Szechuan Pickled Green Beans

As I've undoubtedly mentioned before, I am a big public library fan, and am particularly in favor of checking out cookbooks. It's a great way to explore a lot of cooking styles without shelling a lot of cash, and it also ensures that I don't add to my already overflowing cookbook collection which I can never seem to pare down. And c'mon, let's face it  how many cookbooks do you really end up loving so much you want to own them? (Answering this question is optional.)

Anyhow, I've really loved reading Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton, and my 3x renewal rate is a testament to the fact I want to make a lot of these recipes. Maybe I will invest in it down the road, but for now here is the first of a few small batch preserving recipes adapted from it.

The modifications I made are ultimately based on the fact I wanted the beans to have some good spiciness to them, and that I didn't quite have all the exact ingredients on hand. The book calls for using whole peppercorns, preferably Szechuan, but as those are absent from my current spice arsenal, I used black peppercorns and added some red pepper flakes for additional flavor. The original recipe also calls for dark sesame oil. I only had regular sesame oil, but then recalled my nearly finished jar of Spicy Sichuan Oil by Sue May from the October food swap. I was thrilled to have such a perfect use for it, so essentially split the oil needed between the two types I had in the pantry.

So far I can attest that these are perfect for an antipasti-like sandwich (think salami, sweet peppers and spicy beans) and as a topping for leftover rice cooked with egg, peppers, salt + pepper and hot sauce. I am sure they will end up garnishing a cocktail or two before they are gone too.

Szechuan Pickled Green Beans
Adapted from Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton

1 pound green beans, washed and tailed
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1.5 tablespoons sichuan oil
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
1 large (or 2 small) garlic cloves, sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Wash and tail green beans. I left the tops on because I like the way it looks, but remove according to preference or to enable fitting well in the jar.

Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl while bringing a large pot of water to boil. Drop the beans into the boiling water (if multiplying the batch, do no more than 1 pound at a time) and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute and then drain into a colander. Place immediately into the ice water bath until completely cool, approximately 3-5 minutes. Once cool, pour into a colander again to drain.

Turn a quart jar on its side to make stacking the beans neatly inside easier.

Combine the vinegar, water, soy sauce, sugar, oils, peppercorns, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot brine over the beans. Push them down as needed to ensure they are completely covered by the liquid. If not, heat a small amount of cider vinegar, water and sugar to top up jar.

Once cool, store in fridge for up to 1 month.

Szechuan Pickled Green Beans on Punk Domestics

1 comment:

  1. THIS is what I can do when my bean plants start exploding in a month or so! Thanks for the great idea!