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February 2018
« Sep    


Those End Of Season Green Beans

A few weeks ago I went to clean out my community garden plot for the season.  It was a dismal growing year for me over there, so I was surprised as all get out to find that my bean towers were actually fairly loaded with beans.  I hadn’t been by in about ten days or so, so these beans were quite large and older, and when I pulled one off the plant and ate it fresh, it wasn’t particularly tasty.  I stared at all these beans and went back and forth on putting them in my bucket or just pulling them up and putting them on the compost pile.  The bucket won, and I went in search of something to do with them.

I had this vague thought that I had seen Pioneer Woman do some green bean and tomato dish that cooked for a really long time, so I went searching her site and found exactly what I was looking for.  Green Beans with Tomatoes was what I was after.  I thought the long cooking of these tough and old beans would make them edible- at least that’s what I was hoping.

I followed her recipe pretty closely, only I used my fresh beans instead of canned, and I used a quart of my home-canned tomatoes.   I started by cooking down some chopped bacon that I had in the freezer.  As a side note, for cooking, I really like to use bacon “ends and pieces” from good quality smokehouses.  They are cheaper than the good bacon, and since you’re using it for flavoring, it doesn’t matter what it looks like.  When I get a pound I pop it in the freezer and then lop of frozen chunks when I need some bacon.  In this case I was down to the last couple inches of bacon, so I gave that a rough chop with my knife and threw that in.  Frozen bacon is SO easy to chop up.

Anyway.  I cooked the bacon for a bit- until there was plenty of bacon fat in the pan but the bacon wasn’t cooked through and crispy yet.  Then I added the onion and let that cook for a few minutes.  Wow- talk about amazing smells there.  I really thought hard about mincing up some of my garlic and throwing that in, but in the end decided to make these beans without garlic.  Instead, I just added the green beans, followed by the tomatoes, and then a nice sprinkling of black pepper and a pinch of salt.  I did not use the cayenne called for in PW’s recipe, as I wanted the kids to eat these beans.

I cooked these beans for a little over an hour.   And let me tell you, magic was made in that pan.  I was instantly sorry that I did not have another harvest of beans waiting in the garden for me.  We all enjoyed the beans, although do you know what Zander said?  It could use a little garlic.  Next time I will try adding some garlic and seeing what happens.   I’m so glad I decided to try cooking these beans up, because there was absolutely no toughness left with the beans.  They were slightly smokey, slightly sweet, very tender, and just delicious.  It was a big bowl of comfort.  The next day I took the leftovers and warmed them up for my lunch with a fried egg- and that was pretty good too.

Make these.  You can use the canned green beans called for, frozen beans, or those old beans from the garden.  If you use fresh beans, remove the stem ends and snap them into two-inch pieces or so.   Consider the quantities guidelines, really, there is a lot of flexibility with this recipe.  It really was good.  So good that I’m seriously considering trying this again with canned beans and seeing what happens there.   And honestly?  I think that if you rendered the bacon fat a bit in a pan on the stove for a bit, you could dump everything into a crock pot and cook it on low all day long.  I may try that as well…


Spanish Style Green Beans

5 slices Bacon
1 whole Onion (medium)
4 cans (14.5 Oz. Cans) Whole Green Beans (or 1 To 2 Pounds Fresh)
2 cans (14.5 Oz.) Whole Tomatoes
Cayenne Pepper To Taste

Slice the bacon up into 1 inch pieces and start cooking them in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Keep cooking until bacon turns brown. Meanwhile, dice 1 medium onion. When the bacon is beginning to brown, drain some of the fat and then add the onions. Cook, stirring now and then, until bacon and onions are both turning a nice golden.

Drain the green beans and add them right into the pan with the bacon and the onions. Next, throw in the two cans of whole tomatoes with their juice. Stir around gently and then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 45 minutes.

When they are finished cooking add cayenne pepper to taste up to about ¼ of a teaspoon for a hotter dish. Stir gently and serve!

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