These beans win no beauty prize but in the talent department, they take home the crown.
The trick is time --
A SOUTHERN? ITALIAN? TURKISH? SPECIALTY Five minutes of Google leads me to believe that slow-cooked beans are (1) a classic way to cook beans in the American South, especially when served, along with their 'pot liquor', with corn bread and (2) a classic Italian recipe, especially with tomatoes added and (3) famous in Turkey. To me, the irony is that the inspiring recipe comes from a cookbook about Midwestern food which calls them 'Indiana Green Beans'. My recommendation? We should all claim these beans. They're definitely down-home good cookin'.
RECIPE for SLOOOW-COOKER COUNTRY GREEN BEANS
Time to table: 11 hours
Makes 5 cups
2 pounds fresh green beans, ends snapped, broken into two or three pieces
1 yellow onion, cut in fat wedges and separated (the big size means that the pieces still discernible as onion even after the long cook)
1 ham hock (a meaty one if you can find it)
2 cups slow-roasted tomatoes (suggested substitute: a 15-ounce can of stewed tomatoes, broken into pieces, plus a teaspoon of fennel seed)
A cup or two of water
Salt & pepper
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and let come to a simmer. Adjust heat to maintain slow simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. After several hours, remove the ham hock and cut the meat into pieces and return it (along with the bone and any large pieces of fat, if you like) to the pot. Some time later, season to taste. Cook for about 10 hours or until beans are almost buttery.
- SEVERAL DAYS AHEAD - Roast the tomatoes
- ONE or TWO DAYS BEFORE - Completely cook the beans
- DAY OF - Rewarm the beans til hot clear through
I made these in a slow-cooker, perfect for Thanksgiving since no stove or oven spot is required -- plus easy to carry along and then reheat in someone else's home. But a slow simmer on top of the stove will work, too.
The ham hock adds saltiness so don't add extra salt until after several hours.
I used a batch of slow-roasted tomatoes and would recommend making a tray if you have the time.
Note to Vegetarians
featured in 2006
~ World's Best Green Bean Casserole ~
more good Thanksgiving choices
~ Green Beans with Lemon & Pine Nuts ~
~ Green Beans with Onion & Almonds ~
~ Fresh Green Bean Salad with Asian Dressing ~
~ more green bean recipes ~
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