This recipe also works well with okra, spinach, escarole, and chard. Fresh or canned tomatoes may also be added.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onions. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onions turn translucent. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a rich caramel color, 20 to 25 minutes.
Rinse the beans in a colander; you want just a small amount of water to cling to them. Add the beans to the onions, stir, and cover the pan. Keep the heat low and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. These beans are not served al dente; they should dull in color and become limp. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot or at room temperature.
Photo: Alan Richardson