Browned Butter Green Beans are fresh, delicious, and just special enough to be worthy of a holiday meal! This post was sponsored by Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
Readers of this blog may have noticed I rarely cook with green beans–but long time readers who really pay attention may also have noticed that plain blanched green beans are in the background of an awful lot of photos. That is because we adore green beans, but we like them fresh and crisp-tender, bright green and plain. My kids, as a matter of fact, will eat them out of the fridge all summer long as a favorite snack. And they always disappear quickly from our holiday tables–my entire family adores green beans (although we do argue over how cooked they should be). So when I was asked about creating a holiday recipe with Kikkoman Soy Sauce, the first thing I thought of was gussying up our beloved green beans for a holiday meal while still keeping them the fresh focus of the dish.
This dish succeeded beyond my wildest imagination. It was that good. The sauce is more of a glaze, lightly clinging to each bean, not drowning the dish. It is only 3 ingredients, butter, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, but each one is powerful, and they come together to create something more. Sweet, nutty, savory, the glaze complements the green beans without overtaking them. Despite its minimalism, the browned butter ensures that the glaze is special, “fancy” enough to serve alongside your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas roast beast! The soy sauce and vinegar keep the browned butter from being cloying.
- 1½ lbs green beans, ends trimmed and rinsed
- ½ cup water
- 1 T Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- ½ T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T unsalted butter
This is a very simple dish, but it is easiest and quickest done with 2 pans. Heat one large pan (use either a skillet or a shallow pot) over medium high heat and place the green beans in it. Add the water and cover the pan. Reduce heat to medium. While the beans steam, turn your attention to the glaze.
Measure out the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, and place them beside the cooktop.
Heat a medium pan that you are comfortable using to watch butter for browning in (I prefer stainless steel, as I might miss the butter burning in a dark bottomed pan). Add the butter on medium high heat. When it is melting, start to whisk it. Keep whisking, nearly constantly, as the butter browns. You are looking for a rich mahogany brown, but you do not want a single black fleck (black indicates burnt), so as soon as it is fragrant with nutty caramel notes and browned, turn off the heat, stand back, and add the soy sauce and vinegar (be careful! It will seriously froth and spit at first). As soon as it is safe to come back closer to the cooktop, whisk the sauce until it is incorporated.
Return your attention to the beans: lift the cover and use tongs to toss the beans. There should still be water at the bottom of the pan--if it is dry, add a tablespoon or 2 more. The beans should be mostly done--but if you like your beans more done, return the cover, and continue to steam them.
When they are very close to however done you like them, remove the cover, increase the heat to medium high, and pour the browned butter mixture over the beans (use a rubber spatula to get all of it). Toss the beans with tongs. When the beans are fully cooked--should just be a matter of minutes-- remove the beans with a tong to a serving platter or bowl. Whisk the remaining sauce. Depending on how much water was in the pan, either let some of the water cook off or immediately drizzle the sauce that was left behind over the beans.
These beans can be served hot, but I thought they were fantastic warm, so they can sit for a few minutes.