Sunday Dinner

Habanero-Honey Glazed Chickens
Pimento Cheese Potato Gratin
Southern Style Green Beans

Goo Goo Cupcakes
Vanilla Ice Cream

Oh, how my stomach is loving this menu tonight!  Long time followers might recall that my roots run deep below the Mason-Dixon Line.  So, after a road trip to Nashville this past week and a few introductions to some new Southern culinary treats, this menu was born.  What is not new to many of my Southern Sunday dinner menus are green beans, a.k.a snap beans or pole beans.  I still love sitting in the back yard (or the kitchen counter when it's freezing outside) snapping beans with my children just like I did countless times as a child on my grandparent's back patio. There's just something therapeutic about it.

Southern style green beans accompany everything from fried chicken, roast pork, smothered pork chops, baked ham to Thanksgiving turkey and many more.  I've been known to have just a plate of beans with a side of buttered cornbread for dinner--guilty pleasure.  Heck, I even eat them cold for breakfast--weird, I know.  They are slowly simmered in a bath of chicken broth, that is infused with bacon (cuz bacon makes everything better) and onion, until they have reached their desired tenderness.  And by tender, I mean blah-green tender.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good green bean sauté or salad that is crisp and bright green.  But when it comes to Southern style beans, low and slow is the way to go.

This recipe is very, and I mean very, flexible.  In my younger years, I watched my Mom-mom and my mother prepare them and it was a little different each time.  Don't have bacon?  You can use salt pork or fat back or just omit it.  Don't have an onion? You can use a shallot or leave that out too.  Sometimes I simply simmer the beans in chicken broth and season to taste. Vegetarian?  Use vegetable broth (but I can't promise it'll taste the same).  I haven't said this in a while, but "make it for you, make it your own." As far as what to do with the bacon and onion when ready to serve the beans...sometimes I chop up the onion and mix it in with the beans and the bacon...well, there is always a two or four legged warm body around to snack on the bacon.

Southern Style Green Beans
serves 6

2 pounds green beans, washed, tipped, and snapped in half
6 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover the beans
2 slices bacon, about 1 1/2 ounces, cut in half
1 small yellow onion, peeled, and cut in half leaving the root end in tact 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt to taste

Place the beans, chicken broth, bacon, onion and black pepper in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to barely a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2-2  hours or until the beans are tender.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and more black pepper if needed. Transfer to a  dish and serve.  Enjoy!

Source: The Galley Gourmet

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