Green Beans with Balsamic Reduction Recipe

Green string beans chinese dishDo you ever get bored with your vegetables? Are you looking for a way to spice things up when it comes to green beans? There’s a simple yet elegant way to add a little flavor to your green beans without a lot if hassle. Pour a balsamic reduction sauce over them. Balsamic reduction sauces are often used in swanky restaurants to “decorate” the plate to make the dish look more exotic.

What Is A Balsamic Reduction?

A balsamic reduction refers to the process of “reducing” balsamic vinegar into a syrupy consistency. You simmer balsamic vinegar on the stove, and as it simmers, the water slowly starts to evaporate. What you’re left with is a nice thick looking sauce.

How To Make A Balsamic Reduction

The process is simple, and fairly hard to get wrong. You can use as much vinegar as you’d like, you can always store the reduction for later use if you’ve got extra. To make a balsamic reduction you’ll need to have the following items.

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Saucepan (preferably one that has a wide opening to have more surface area, which will make the reduction go faster)
  • Whisk
  • Sugar (to taste)

Pour your balsamic vinegar into the saucepan, and get it up to a soft boil. You could have it boil harder if you’re low on time. Use a whisk to whisk the vinegar constantly. You don’t want the vinegar to burn on the bottom or caramelize. You want to see the volume “reduce” by about 50% to 75%.

To see how much of the vinegar has reduced, use a wooden skewer or something similar to check the level. Make a note before starting of where the volume line was in the beginning. Once the reduction is down to the level it should be at, check the consistency of the sauce. It should be thick, but not too thick. If you stick a spoon into the sauce, it should lightly coat the spoon, but not too much. If it is too thick, just add a little water to it, mix it thoroughly, and let it reduce some more.

As the vinegar reduces, it gets sweeter. You may want to add some sugar to it, but it’s not necessary. It’s completely up to the cook.

Now that you know how to make a balsamic reduction, let’s add it to some green beans. If you’ve got green beans in your garden, you probably have plenty of them stored in the freezer. If you’re using them right out of the garden, you’ll want to blanch the beans first. Or you could use fresh green beans from the grocery store.

Recipe For Green Beans With Balsamic Reduction

For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.

  • 2 cups trimmed green beans
  • ½ cup sliced onions
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  • Slivered almonds

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large pan or skillet, and add the green beans, garlic, and onion. Saute for about three to four minutes on a medium to high heat. Once the onions begin to look translucent, add in the white wine. Toss the beans well to make sure they’re totally coated. Turn the heat down to low, and let them cook for about five to six minutes allowing the wine to reduce a bit. Put the remaining tablespoon of butter into the mix and stir it in until it melts completely. Place the green beans in a large bowl and pour the one and a half tablespoons of your balsamic vinegar reduction over them. Toss the green beans to make sure they’re all nicely coated. Mix in the slivered almonds if you desire.

Instead of the almonds, you could also add in cooked bacon, sliced olives, or whatever you desire.

This recipe can be made as a side dish for any occasion. It can be used at a casual meal with family, or as a side dish at a more formal get together. Whatever the occasion, this dish is sure to please everyone. If you serve this at a dinner with friends, your guests will think you slaved in the kitchen all day to get an elegant green bean side dish like this.

Photo by ccharmon