Snap to it!
There’s a time for crunchy, but not when it comes to cooking fresh green beans. As any born-and-raised Southerner will tell you, this vegetable deserves your time. My Kentucky Blue Pole beans (from Harris Seed Company) have been in the ground for 63 days and my first harvest was a whopper! I can only hope the season is long because I have many plans for these delicious veggies and hope the season extends for quite a while. To start, my first recipe requires a serving of the beans after they have been cooked to death. It’s a Southern tradition and a marvelous way to make your home smell like any Grandmother’s kitchen on a Sunday. They go with anything you are serving and the leftovers only get better, if that’s believable!
So “sit a spell,” as my Mother used to say and enjoy the process of snapping fresh green beans. It’s a great activity for even the smallest children and something about it inspires conversation.
Southern Green Beans
Yield: 8-10 servings
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped
2 heaping tablespoons bacon grease
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 pound ham hock
Salt to taste
Place the beans in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the bacon grease, pepper and ham hock and place over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook 1 hour. Stir and add more salt if desired. Continue to cook for one hour longer, checking to make sure there is plenty of liquid and replenishing if necessary. Serve warm.