23 June 2015

Mediterranean Green Beans and Orzo with bonus leftover casserole

What a way to enjoy the green beans from your garden (or local farmer's market)! This dish can be made with no meat, or you can replace the chicken I use with tofu, shrimp, chunked cod, etc. And the casserole is a great way to revive leftovers, suitable for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Scroll to the end for my 30-second tzatziki, which I think is appropriate with either preparation, as well as most other savory foods.



Mediterranean Green Beans and Orzo

Serves 6-8, or see alternative leftover casserole, below

2 teaspoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
1 chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks (optional; leave out our replace with protein of your choice)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
¼ cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the orzo:
1 lb. orzo
1 small garlic clove, minced
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Bring a well-salted pot of water to boil; cook orzo al dente according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat.  When it shimmers, add the onion and chicken, along with a sprinkle of salt, and sauté until onion is translucent and chicken is mostly cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Toss in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about one minute.  Add the green beans, tomatoes, red wine, teaspoon salt, and fresh and dried herbs.  Stir to incorporate, cover, and lower to simmer.  Cook until green beans are crisp-tender, about 20 minutes.  Season with more salt if desired and pepper.

Drain the orzo and stir in the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and salt and red pepper.  Fold the crumbled feta into the green beans just before serving.  Serve with 30-second tzatziki* and lemon wedges. Perhaps it will look something like this:


BONUS LEFTOVER BRUNCH CASSEROLE

Mix leftover green beans and orzo together in a large bowl. Grease a baking dish and preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon prepared mustard, and 1 tablespoon milk (dairy or alternative), along with salt and pepper to taste; do one of these egg mixtures for each cup of leftover green beans and orzo (so, three cups of combined leftovers=3 eggs, ¾ teaspoon mustard, 3 tablespoons milk…).  Stir the egg mixture into the bowl of leftovers and combine well. Spread evenly into the baking dish and bake in the oven until egg is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

OPTIONAL: When the dish is done, remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with a thin layer of shredded mozzarella.  Broil on high about five minutes, or until browned on top.



Serve with a simple side salad of fresh greens, slivered almonds, blackberries, and sliced fresh apricots dressed with seasoned rice vinegar and salt and pepper, like so:



*30-second tzatziki

1 cup Greek or other thick, whole-fat plain yogurt
1 small garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons peeled, diced cucumber
Black pepper to taste

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle and crush into a paste.  In a small serving bowl, combine all ingredients, including garlic paste.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt or a dash of lemon juice if desired.