In my growing up, green beans came from a can. When they landed on my plate, little had changed. Yes, the beans were warm — the only culinary intervention that occurred on behalf of those beans.
When I began to garden, beans were not on the to-grow list. You can probably understand why.
A visit to Aunt Flossie and Uncle Garther in the Osark Mountains of Arkansas changed the bean scene for me. That dear couple was growing Kentucky Wonder Beans and the taste experience is still a vivid memory for me — four decades since!
I share their precious recipe with you. You probably would have experienced a similar dish on every farmstead fifty years ago. Whether you live on a farm or in a city condo, you can enjoy those same flavors today. Just be certain to start with fresh green beans.
Country Green Beans Ingredients
2 pounds green beans, Kentucky Wonder if possible
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons oil (bacon fat is really authentic, and our favorite for this one)
Sprinkling of sea salt
1 cup liquid such as chicken bone broth or water
6 paste tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Country Green Beans Steps
Wash the beans, cut off the stem and tip ends. If you are using a large-podded bean like Kentucky Wonder, break the pod into 2 inch sections. Shell out the pods with large developing seeds. The pods will be too tough to enjoy but the little seeds will add color and texture to you bean pot.
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot. Sauté the onion in the oil. Add the garlic when the onion is just turning translucent. Stir for a minute or two.
Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes and salt.
Add the green beans and toss to completely coat the beans with oil and seasonings. Stir for a minute or two.
Pour in the liquid and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat as low as you can. Depending on the type of beab you have chosen, there may be little more cooking time required. Kentucky Wonder beans are best cooked for about an hour. If you are using a smaller, more tender bean, five minutes may be plenty of time to finish the job.
Check the beans several times for liquid. You want to keep about 1/4 inch in the bottom of the pan.
When the beans are tender, add the tomatoes. They will cook in the heat of the beans, but stay bright red and attractive.
Taste for salt and pepper, making any necessary adjustments.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
These beans reheat well in the same fashion they cooked: heavy pot, a small amount of liquid and a tight-fitting lid.
P.S.: This is pure nostaligia, but I love these beans with a slab of hot buttered corn bread. Love ya, Aunt Flossie!