Green beans are a staple in American kitchens. We all have our favorite ways of cooking them and eating them, whether it’s straight out of a can (vivid memories of school lunches), covered in cream of mushroom soup and fried onions, or simply steamed. Me? I like them with crispy bacon, garlic and onions. This is my go-to way to cook green beans. The recipe is easy and full of flavor, and you won’t find many leftovers when these hit the table. Cooked in a rich chicken broth and lots of fresh pepper; they have a savory taste you’ll love. The beans keep their bright green color and crunch, and swim in a delicious, garlicky broth. I usually dip my beans in it while eating them, and have been known to slurp up the rest directly from the plate.
Green beans are best when they are fresh and in season. Don’t buy beans that have dark spots or look shriveled or limp. You want them to be firm and bright green. You’ll find them in-season locally in late summer. The rest of the year, they are imported. The best green beans are young and small. These are tender and will cook quickly, no longer than 7-10 minutes. Larger beans require a longer cooking time and may lose their bright green color by the time they are cooked.
To prepare your beans, snip off the end with the stem by hand. This bit is tough and you don’t want to eat it. You can snip off both ends with kitchen shears or a knife to make it this process faster. If the beans are very long or large, cut them in half or into inch-size pieces.
- 1-2 strips of bacon, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound green beans
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
In a medium-sized pot, cook bacon on medium heat until crispy and brown. Remove bacon to a paper towel, keeping about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan (if you don’t have this much, add some olive oil).
Add the onions to the hot pan, stirring until soft. Add garlic and green beans. Pour in chicken stock and season with salt. Bring to a boil.
Cook over medium-high heat, turning the beans every few minutes so they cook evenly. After 7-10 minutes, check the beans to see if they are tender. If they are, remove them from the pan with tongs, leaving the stock in the pan.
Turn the heat to high and let the stock reduce by at least half. When it is reduced, taste for seasoning and add fresh pepper. Toss the beans in the reduced liquid and arrange on a deep plate. Sprinkle bacon on top and serve.