Knock knock knock.
Green beans are one of those things people don’t think about. As a child they came from a can or the garden and were just there. As an adult they are a side dish that offers me comfort for their familiarity.
A few years ago, at a family reunion, my Aunt Flora Ann Triplett had prepared a pot of green beans. They were adrift in pot liquor with strips of bacon floating here and there. I got myself a serving and thought nothing of it until I sat down at a picnic table and took my first bite. I know those beans came from her yard and the simplicity and care with which they were prepared was palpable in every bite. It was an epiphany and I have never thought of green beans the same.
Here I have tried to replicate and slightly enhance Aunt Flora Ann’s basic recipe. I hope you enjoy.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1 pound of fresh green beans, ends removed and cut in half
- 3 cups homemade chicken stock, 2 cups of water (you may use all water if necessary)
- 1 slice of thick quality bacon, cut in half
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 tbsp (or more) peppercorns or very coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
This comes together really quickly. In a large sauce pan or stock pot combine stock, water, bacon, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Allow to come to a good steady simmer. Let this simmer go for about 15 minutes to get the flavors to combine in an optimal way and allow the bacon to cook.
Add the onion and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes. Then add the green beans. A solid 15 minute simmer will leave you with a still-crispy bean that is sufficiently flavorful. A 20 minute bean will be softer but nowhere near mush. A 25-30 minute bean will be church lady goodness and very flavorful but definitely not al dente. It’s up to YOU.
You may serve this strained and dry or in a bowl in its own cooking liquid. Remember that if you transfer the vegetables and liquid to a bowl to serve, the beans will continue to cook in the hot liquid. Keep in mind what you want as an end result.
For downloadable PDF click here: Old Fashioned Green Beans
I wish for you the same epiphany about green beans that I had at that family reunion! I think this recipe will give it to you.
Bye for now, my lovelies!