R. Blondeau details three ways that beans are prepared:  as green beans before the seeds develop (haricots verts), or after the seeds develop as shelly beans (haricots ecosses, or husked beans), or as dry beans.  Snap beans (called le mange-tout) are tender enough to be eaten whole, seeds and husks.

I had two kinds of beans planted this year – a French snap bean, and a Roma bean.  Unfortunately our huge buck, David, who is quite a jumper as we have discovered, made his way over the fence and into the garden and grazed down more than half the snap beans, and about a quarter of the Romas.  Alas, such is gardening, especially if you have goats.  The Romas were already loaded with beans, and would have been such a loss, I can only be glad they were not as tasty, or most likely he didn’t get around to it before he was removed in disgrace.  So I have Roma beans for the haricots verts.

In the case of this recipe, the beans are pre-cooked, and then added to the rest of the ingredients.  There is a specific recipe given for pre-cooking:


(Cooking Green Beans)

Choose the finest, in that they are not fiberous, break both ends and cook them in salted boiling water without covering.  Remove them when they don’t resist the pressure of a finger.

Cooking time:  thirty minutes.

I am always curious about the “Lyonnaise” recipes.  Lyon is a very historic city, and my great-grandfather was from Genas, France, very close by.  He died quite young, from lung complications of being gassed in the trenches of WWI during his youth.  (his grandfather, I believe, won a war medal under Napoleon).  He was a train engine mechanic when my grandmother was a little girl.

Strangely, every time I’ve tried to go to Lyon, I have always gotten stuck in the train station overnight.  The trains get cancelled, or the one I’m on is late, and I miss a connection and have to wait there for nine hours.  The youth hostel is far from the station and closes early, and the hotels are all very expensive.  I’ve spent so many early, sleepless hours there, waiting, that I can still remember exact details of that train station, down to the panini cart at the front doors.  I have never been stuck in any other train station for so long, and I have never stayed in Lyon except at the train station!  It’s very uncanny now that it’s happened three times in my life.  I’m almost afraid to go back.


 In a pan, brown diced onions, with a pat of butter the size of an egg, salt pepper, and add your cooked green beans.  Fry everything together, sprinkle with chopped parsley, pour over one spoonful of vinegar while the pan is still hot.



Lyonnaise-style Green Beans

1 medium onion (I used two smaller ones)

A pat of butter the size of an egg

1-2 lbs of green beans, ends snapped off and pre-cooked as above in salted, boiling water

Salt and pepper

Chopped parsley

1 Tablespoon vinegar

1.  Melt the butter in a pot large enough to hold the green beans, and brown the onion.  Season with salt and pepper, and add the pre-cooked green beans.

2.  Fry for a few minutes, stirring, until the green beans are heated through.  Turn off the heat, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and pour over the spoonful of vinegar.  Mix well and serve.

Notes:  I really liked the tangy flavor of this recipe.  The kind of vinegar is not specified – I used Balsamic vinegar, as that was what I had on hand, but apple cider vinegar would also be good.  I would recommend a vinegar that has something of it’s own flavor to add, rather than just distilled white.  The warmth of the pan brings out any fruity flavors.

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Denise says:

    A pat of butter the size of an egg! That's a half stick! Ah, the French.


  2. Angie says:

    I know…seriously! But that's what it says – I'm just translating.


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