Bon Appétit (November 2013)
Let's get a few things out of the way right up front:
1. Benne is basically just another word for sesame seeds, a term used today almost exclusively in Charleston, S.C. (In a funny post on the Cupcake Project blog, the writer wonders if the whole thing isn't just a tourism-marketing conspiracy.)
2. If sorghum isn't a pantry staple in your house, it ought to be.
3. You should really make these beans for Thanksgiving.
A note on sorghum: We both grew up eating sorghum. It's a bit like molasses, but it comes from a grain, not from sugarcane. We gave a little background on sorghum when we wrote about it last year. It's got this wonderful sweet toasted flavor -- almost evocative of burnt caramel -- that instantly adds big depth of flavor to a dish. Paired with soy sauce and cumin and sesame seeds here, it gives these green beans a marvelously complex taste. If you can't find sorghum at your grocery store or farmers market, you can order it online from places like Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill in Monterey, TN.
Our biggest regret with these beans is that we didn't double the recipe. They're outstanding.
Green Beans with Benne and Sorghum
Bon Appétit (November 2013) - Recipe by Joseph Lenn
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Nutritional Information available at BonAppetit.com
INGREDIENTS2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sorghum syrup or 1 honey
2 teaspoons benne seeds or sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat oven to 450°. Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
Drain, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let cool. Drain and pat dry.
Toss beans and oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and lightly charred in spots, 10–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk soy sauce, sorghum, benne seeds, and cumin in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add warm beans and toss to coat.
DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.