Green Beans with Orange Sauce

Every Thanksgiving meal must have a token green vegetable to foil the carb-laden dishes, and green beans are the green of choice in my family. While everyone has his or her favorite dressing or sweet potato recipe that can’t be tinkered with, no one seems to mind when the cook has a new idea for green beans. This dish is perfect for the holidays — it’s pretty, super easy and — as holiday dishes go — fairly light. You can make the sauce and nuts a day or two in advance, trim your beans, and then assemble everything very quickly right before you sit down to the table to keep the beans nice and hot.
By | November 01, 2011


  • Toast the nuts: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add nuts and stir frequently until they start to become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter, the maple syrup and salt. Put the skillet back on the heat and stir constantly until the nuts are dry, just a minute or two. Remove the nuts to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
  • Put the skillet back over medium heat and add the remaining butter to melt Add garlic, orange zest and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook until just until garlic begins to soften, not brown, a minute or two. Add flour, stirring to break up any lumps. Add the chicken stock, 1/3 to ½ cup orange juice and minced sage. Stir thoroughly; increase heat to medium-high.
  • If you are going to serve immediately, at this point you can add the green beans and cook for about 10 minutes. If you are making the sauce ahead of time, take it off the heat and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the green beans.
  • When you are ready to add the beans, gently re-heat the sauce, add the beans and toss to coat them thoroughly. Cook about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium-low and cook about 5 more minutes, until the sauce thickens and beans are tender.
  • Remove from heat, add a little more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the reserved nuts. Serves 8 or so.


  • 2 ounces (½ cup) pecans, coarsely chopped (almonds or walnuts are also good)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest and juice from fresh orange
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon minced sage leaves
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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