Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Old Country Green Beans

I can remember eating my Grandmother's green beans as a kid and wondering how in the world she was able to get them to taste so delicious.  I never found out her secret, other than it involved vinegar, and have wished a thousand times I could eat one more bowl.  When Kendra and I got married, which in a matter of days will be 14 years ago, I was given this cookbook which has become one of my favorite cookbooks--cherished if you will.  In this cookbook I read about a formula for making green beans.  While I have added one more ingredient as well as changing up the cooking process and time, it is basically the same recipe as posted in Thelma's cookbook.

These green beans are simply wonderful.  They will take you back to your childhood because they are old fashioned green beans, full of flavor, and as most old fashioned recipes are, full of love.  The ingredient list couldn't be more simple: bacon, green beans, pepper.  What makes these beans really stand out is the process or steps to cooking the green beans.  The length of time also has something to do with it as well.  I have never made these green beans and not received a ton of compliments.  Usually the conversation goes something like this: "These green beans are divine!" "Thanks, they are pretty good.  They remind me of my grandmother's green beans."  "I need the recipe."  "OK, are you ready?"  That's the gist of it.

There are just a few things to remember to get guaranteed results every time, we'll go over those in the notes section at the end of the recipe.  If you remember the formula/ratio, whatever you want to call it you will be just fine and you, too will get a ton of compliments.

Green Beans

5 (14 oz) cans Green beans
7 strips bacon, diced
1 tablespoon black pepper

Heat a 3 quart stock pot to medium high heat.  Add diced bacon and cook over medium high heat until the bacon is crisp and dark brown.  While the bacon is cooking in the pot, open the cans of green beans...DO NOT DRAIN THE JUICE.

When the bacon has reached the dark brown color, like the photo to the right, pour just the juice from the cans into the stock pot.  Be careful because the steam will scald you (lesson learned the hard way).  Stir the juice and bacon bits together until the wonderful brown bits are all removed form the bottom of the pot.  Reduce heat to medium and bring the juice to a rolling boil.  Add the drained green beans, black pepper, and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for one hour or until ready to serve.  Sit back and take the compliments.


  • You don't have to make 5 cans of green beans.  Again this is a ratio.  I usually add one strip of bacon to one can of green beans. If you like a lot of bacon you can do two strips, I find that it gets pretty greasy though.
  • Cooking the bacon to the point that it is almost burned is key.  You want the bacon to be a good crisp, dark brown.
  • When I'm in a hurry, I will leave the pot on medium high heat and let the beans boil rapidly until I'm ready to serve. 
  • The very top picture of this post is of our dinner last night.  I put the beans on first, then the potatoes, and while the mini-meat loaves were cooking (which is a SUPER fast way to cook meatloaf) I let those beans boil away.  It took about 25 minutes for the meatloaf to cook and that was a perfect amount of time for the beans to cook.

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