My in-laws request these green beans for basically every family gathering—and these are people who know their country cooking!
Blue-Ribbon Seal of Approval
I didn't grow up learning the ways of country cooking; my mom was raised by city dwellers, and so was I. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is a terrific country cook. She asked me to bring green beans to an Easter gathering a few years ago, and that's when I found this recipe, which Paula Deen calls "Green Beans With New Potatoes." In this preparation, fresh green beans are steamed and simmered in chicken broth with thinly sliced onions and new potatoes.
To my surprise, my husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sisters-in-law, and their husbands all agreed that these were the best green beans they had ever tasted. These are people who know their country cooking! As a suburban girl, I had not only successfully cooked a classic Southern country dish, I had won my in-laws' blue-ribbon seal of approval. I used to always bring a green bean casserole to these get-togethers, but now they specifically request these green beans—every time.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 30 min
8 to 10 servings
- 3 pounds fresh green beans
- 1/4 pound smoked salt pork or bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup bacon drippings*
- 2 cups chicken broth (plus more if needed)
- 3 teaspoons Paula Deen's House Seasoning**
- 12 new potatoes (small red potatoes)
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter***
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Wash the green beans, removing any leaves, stems, and limp or shriveled beans. Snap or cut the beans in half. This can be tedious when you do it by yourself, but when my family sits around and snaps beans together, it's actually quite fun. If I'm alone and in a hurry, sometimes I'll skip the snapping and leave the beans whole; they turn out just as well.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the salt pork and fry it over medium heat until lightly browned.
- Add the bacon drippings to the pot. Allow the drippings to melt, then add the green beans to the pot. Toss the beans to coat them thoroughly.
- Add chicken broth and Paula Deen's House Seasoning (or its substitute, below). Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and allow to cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. (Note: If you are accustomed to completely covering your green beans in liquid, it will seem as though there is not enough chicken broth—but don't worry. Just make sure the lid stays on the pot, and the beans will steam until they're tender.)
- While the beans are cooking, wash and scrub the new potoatoes. Use a vegetable peeler to peel a strip around the center of each potato. If I'm in a hurry, sometimes I'll cut the potatoes in half instead. If the potatoes are very small, I'll sometimes use them whole without peeling a strip around the center or cutting them in half.
- Cut the onion in half; then slice each half into thin slices.
- After the 30-minute cooking time is up for the beans, add the potatoes and onions to the pot. At this point, you may also add in a quarter or half cup of additional chicken broth, if you like.
- Cover the pot again with a tight-fitting lid and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. It's a good idea to lift the lid and take a peek every now and then. You want to make sure that at least a small amount of liquid remains.
- Once the potatoes are tender, tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape. Continue cooking for about 15 more minutes, until the beans have wilted.
- Add butter and pepper. Stir to mix evenly. Serve and enjoy!
* Bacon Drippings: When you fry the bacon or salt pork, you will most likely get enough drippings to coat the green beans. Note: You may omit the bacon drippings, or reduce the amount, in order to make a healthier dish.
** Paula Deen's House Seasoning: If you do not have this in your kitchen, you can make your own version: Mix 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon seasoned salt.
*** Butter: You may omit the butter, or reduce the amount, in order to make a healthier dish.
How to Keep and Serve Leftover Beans
Leftover beans are just as delicious the next day. I often make a large pot of these beans for a weekend supper, when I have more time to cook. The recipe makes much more than our family of four will eat at one meal.
When supper is over, I plop the lid on the pot and put it in the refrigerator. During the week, when our schedules are crazy and I need to get dinner ready quickly, I simply grab the pot of beans and reheat them on the stove for a few minutes. It's so handy having a ready-made side dish that's this delicious.
Variation: Omit the New Potatoes
My in-laws request these green beans for basically every family gathering—and often, mashed potatoes and gravy are also on the menu. When I know we're having mashed potatoes, I usually omit the new potatoes in this recipe (as I did in these photos) because new potatoes seem redundant if we're also having mashed potatoes. Additionally, new potatoes are quite expensive in my little part of the world, so this also saves a bit of money.
When I leave out the new potatoes, I'll add an extra half-pound of green beans to the recipe.
Paula Deen and Healthy Cooking
Over the years, I have learned to love Paula Deen's recipes—hers are some of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted. However, she has come under fire for years, mainly because of the high fat and sugar content of many of her recipes. When she publicly announced that she has diabetes, I don't think anyone was surprised, especially if we assume that she regularly eats the decadent dishes featured on her cooking show as well as in her magazines and cookbooks.
However, this particular recipe for green beans is one of her healthiest—and in my opinion, it is also one of her most delicious. Although the green beans are indeed seasoned with salt pork, bacon drippings, and butter, you can easily reduce the amount of these fats to make a healthier version. Personally, I use the full amount because it adds such a wonderful smoky flavor. Also, if you use a slotted spoon when serving the beans, you will find that most of the fat from the butter and pork will drip back into the pot or serving dish.
How to Snap Beans
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how you liked it!
Travis on July 19, 2020:
Was going to use this recipe but was swamped by ads. This is ridiculous
Joseph E. Long on July 10, 2019:
In Kentucky we also use salt pork or bacon grease in green beans, but we cover them with water and simmer them at least 2 hours, uncover and continue evaporating all the water until the beans are practically frying in the pan. That concentrates all the flavor into the beans.
Linda Black on June 19, 2019:
Thank you for the very best Green Beans & Potato recipe.
Kip Roberts on November 14, 2018:
I would like to no to cook Paula Deans green bean tomato and onion casserole?
Cate on August 30, 2018:
Loved this! I have been married for 31 years and never cooked fresh green beans before. I was always afraid. Not anymore !! Made this recipe twice in a week . I usually only eat green beans on holidays but will definitely be enjoying them much more during the year!
Stacy Le'Gette on August 14, 2018:
Absolutely amazing!!! Will be the only recipe I ever use for green beans again!!! Takes a while to cook but totally worth it!!! DELICIOUS!!!!
Charlotte Karam on March 22, 2018:
The green bean recipe (including the family snapping) is identical to the recipe we use in our family. Identical! We serve it with steamed white rice!
Etty on December 24, 2017:
Diane on July 27, 2017:
Have made these for over 30 years but add minced garlic for added flavor.
SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on February 14, 2017:
Personally, I cover the pot, juice, fat, meat and all, and put it in the fridge. Then I heat the beans up again in the same pot for the next meal. If there are any left at that point, I will move them to a smaller covered storage container. Thanks for commenting!
Denise Green from Dallas, Texas on January 22, 2017:
Do you remove the fat/meat from the beans before putting them in the fridge to store? Do you store the beans with all the juices?
Adams on November 27, 2015:
Question: When did 1/2 stick of butter become 1/4 cup. A of butter is 8 oz or 1 cup, thus 1/2 half stick butter is 1/2 cup. The short butter sticks are called half sticks. So which is it, 1/2 stick of 1/4 stick/cup?
Judy kk on July 11, 2015:
I have made this recipe a number of times and it is absolutely fabulous! Great southern/country style. LOVE THIS!!!!
Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on November 26, 2014:
This is very interesting. In South Africa our traditional way of cooking beans are very similar. We boil the finely chopped beans with chopped onions and chopped potatoes and a small fatty lamb shop. When the vegetables are soft and all the water has cooked away we remove the meat, add salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Then comes the unhealthy part! We mash all this up with LOTS of butter. Yummy.
Jennifer Suchey on July 02, 2013:
These are similar to the green beans my sister makes, which I have made a couple of times as well. I don't think she uses butter, which sounds like a great addition, but for sure bacon, bacon drippings and onion. Thanks for sharing this recipe and your story of how you tried it and was a hit with the in-laws. Way to go! ;)
SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on January 10, 2013:
I love stir-fried green beans! I love them in some olive oil with a bit of sea salt, and maybe a few almond slices thrown in. This recipe is for the softer, mushier, Southern-type green beans, full of bacon and butter. Delcious, but definitely not as healthy as the stir-fried variety. Thanks for commenting, and let me know if you make these beans!
FullOfLoveSites from United States on December 26, 2012:
@SmartAndFun -- these beans look so delicious and really filling. I've cooked with string beans before but I will definitely try your recipe. :)
I think the stir-fried green beans is great too because it retains much of the color and nutrients.
Whenever I prepare with string beans I usually strip off the stringy part on the sides. Otherwise the I would feel the stringy parts in my mouth whenever I eat the beans.
Thanks for sharing! Voted up and useful. :)
SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on June 07, 2012:
I love stir-fried green beans -- I think they're delcious when they're crisp! Maybe you could put your stir-fry recipe here on HubPages. This recipe is very different, because the beans are cooked quite a long time in lots of steam and liquid until they're soft and wilted. Either way they are yummy! Thanks for stopping by.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 07, 2012:
Your green beans look soft. Mine is always kind of raw because I stir fry them. Maybe I should change the cooking method to yours. Thanks!