When I was in college and visiting my grandmother on her farm in Virginia, one of our favorite meals (well, aside from when Rachel would bring out that huge block o’ chocolate and a knife so we could share it with the “stories” on the teevee) was a big ole batch of her home grown and canned green beans, fried a bit with onion and tiny new potatoes in bacon fat.
To this day, I can taste that meal, and hear her soft voice, and picture the slightly scruffy farmhouse kitchen.
This recipe isn’t made with beans from Rachel’s garden – I used a bag of small fresh trimmed beans from the market (tho’ frozen would work here, too) – and I’ve skipped the new potatoes because we are trying to be conscious of our carb intake these days. I’ve also replaced the standard bacon with a packet of cubed pancetta.
Still pretty darned fantastic – and simple.
•1 lb (fresh or frozen) green beans*
•6 oz cubed pancetta
•1 shallot, thinly sliced
•1 tbsp red wine vinegar
*I bought fresh, but trimmed beans in a packet from my local market, but, if you can find them, frozen tiny haricots vert would work a treat here. Not at all like my grandmother’s dark, thick, and vevet-y coated green beans, but very, very good.
Rinse your green beans, trim them, if necessary, then add them to a large pot of well salted (mebbe one tablespoon) boiling water.
Cook the beans for three or four minutes, until they are tender but still a brilliant green, then remove them from the pot and plunge immediately into a bowl of ice water.
This will “shock” the beans, keep them from cooking any further, and help to maintain that brilliant green color.
Drain the water from the pot, add the pancetta, and cook, stirring often over medium high heat, until the pancetta is nicely crispity.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze the pot, then add the sliced shallot and cook until tender – mebbe ten minutes more.
Drain the green beans, return to the pot with the pancetta and shallot, toss to mix together, and cook just until warmed through 0- mebbe another two minutes.
Most excellent with Pressure Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy, but, really, this is a green bean recipe that will suit most any meal.
Try it with a sprinkle of good crumbled bleu cheese, too.
It’s not Rachel’s, but it’ll do.