Orange Essence Green Beans with Maple-Toasted Pecans
  • 3/4 cup pecans (about 1 3/4 oz), chopped coarse
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp grated zest plus 1/3 cup juice from 1 large orange
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 lbs green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp minced fresh sage leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  1. 1. Toast pecans in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1 tbsp butter, maple syrup, and 1/8 tsp salt. Return skillet to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are dry and glossy, about 45 seconds; transfer to plate and set aside.
  2. 2. Wipe out skillet. Heat remaining 2 tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add shallots, orange zest, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour until combined, then toss in green beans. Add chicken broth and orange juice; increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until beans are partly tender but still crisp at center, about 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Add sage and toss quickly, then remove from heat. Off heat, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle evenly with pecans, and serve.
  3. If you really want to amp up the orange flavor, up the amount of zest to 1 tsp, or you can change the orange juice/chicken broth ratio to 50/50. Use vegetable broth or water to make this a more vegetarian-friendly option.
  4. Trust me, you'll miss the cayenne pepper if you don't have it in there. It adds just an almost imperceptible hit of heat that livens up the whole dish. Just don't go nuts with it and you'll love it.
  5. Oh, and those maple-toasted pecans are good for just about anything - yogurt, oatmeal, cookies, ice cream - so you might want to think about making a triple batch.
This is a very simple dish, really about the easiest way you can make green beans. It's got bright flavors that will work to spice up a quick weeknight meal or will hold its own at a holiday dinner. It comes together very fast, since there's no need to do the whole boil-shock-dry-reheat process that so many green bean recipes call for.