How to Cook Fresh Green Beans: Paula Deen's Delicious Recipe
Paula Deen's Green Bean Recipe: rated #1 by this family of country cooks
Over the years, I have learned to trust Paula Deen's recipes, as those that I have tried 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 Paula Deen publicly announced that she has diabetes, I don't think anyone was surprised, especially if we can assume that she regularly eats the decadent dishes featured on her cooking show and in her magazines and cook books.
However, this green beans recipe could be one of her healthiest, and in my opinion it is certainly one of her most delicious. In this recipe, fresh green beans are steamed and simmered in chicken broth with thinly sliced onions and new potatoes. Although the recipe calls for seasoning the beans with salt pork, bacon drippings and butter, you can easily cut the amount of these fats listed in the recipe. I use the full amount, though, because it adds such a wonderful smoky flavor, and most of the fat from the butter and pork drips into the broth, which is left in the pot when you use a slotted or pierced serving spoon to serve the beans.
My own mom was raised by city-dwellers and thus did not learn the ways of country cooking, and therefore neither did I. However, my mother-in-law 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. I was thrilled when 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 that know their country cooking. This suburban girl 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 instead they specifically request these green beans -- every time.
- 3 pounds fresh green beans
- 1/4 pound smoked salt pork or bacon, sliced
- 1/4 cup bacon drippings*
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 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, culling out any leaves, stems and limp, shriveled beans. Snap or cut in beans two. This can be tedious when you do it on your own, 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 them whole -- they turn out just as well.
- Chop the salt pork into small pieces, and in a large pot or Dutch oven, fry it over medium heat until lightly brown.
- Add the bacon drippings to the pot. Allow the drippings to melt, then place the green beans in the pot and toss the beans to coat them with the salt pork and bacon drippings.
- Add chicken broth and House Seasoning (or its substitute, below). Set the stove to medium low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and allow to cook for 30 minutes. 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 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 or cutting them.
- Cut the onion in half, then slice each half into thin slivers.
- 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 with a tight-fitting lid and allow to cook about 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. It's a good idea to lift the lid and take a peak every now and then, to make sure a small amount of liquid remains.
- Once potatoes are tender, tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape, and continue cooking for about 15 more minutes, until the beans have wilted.
- Add butter and pepper, stir to mix all ingredients evenly, and serve.
Recipe Notes and Comments
* Frying the bacon or salt pork will likely provide you with enough drippings to coat the green beans. You may omit the bacon drippings and butter, or reduce their amounts, for a healthier recipe.
** If you do not have Paula Deen's House Seasoning, in its place substitute one teaspoon of onion powder, one teaspoon of garlic powder and one teaspoon of seasoned salt.
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 he 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.
As I stated above, my in-laws request these green beans for basically every family gathering. Often, mashed potatoes and gravy are also on the menu. When I know we're having mashed potatoes, I usually leave the new potatoes out of this recipe (as I did in the green beans in my photos) and add an extra half pound of green beans, because new potatoes seem redundant if we have mashed potatoes. Additionally, new potatoes are quite expensive in my little part of the world, so this also saves a bit of money.