As a chef specializing in southern-style cuisine, I am here to share with you my favorite recipe for southern-style green beans. If you’re looking for a side dish that packs a punch, these green beans are the perfect addition to any dinner table.
These aren’t just any ordinary green beans – they are slow-cooked to perfection in a mix of bacon, chicken broth, and tomato sauce. The result is a flavorful and savory taste that you won’t be able to get enough of.
The best part about this recipe? It’s incredibly easy to make! With just a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can have delicious, slow-cooked green beans that will leave your guests impressed.
So, whether you’re looking for a side dish for your next family dinner or hosting a special occasion, give this recipe a try. Your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Imagine a side dish that perfectly complements your savory southern-style meals, offering balance and brightness to every bite. Well, Southern-Style Green Beans can do just that! I challenge you to find a more classic Southern side dish than slow cooked green beans, bacon and onions simmered in a rich chicken broth and tomato sauce.
This recipe offers the perfect balance between salty or spicy flavors by adding bacon and a touch of cayenne pepper, which results in a combination that is both comforting and satisfying all in one bite. The recipe calls for fresh string beans or green beans, but either way, Southern-Style Green Beans manage to maintain their integrity as they hold together in the slow cooking process.
The best part? This side dish recipe is effortless to prepare and can be served hot as a crowd favorite at summer barbeques or Thanksgiving feasts. It’s easy to see why this recipe has been passed down from generation to generation as the “go-to” southern style green beans.
Even better, this recipe comes with room for personalization! If you’re vegetarian or prefer non-dairy dishes, we have you covered. Simply omit the meat or replace chicken broth with vegetable broth for an equally delicious side dish that’s vegan friendly.
Once you have tasted our Southern-Style Green Beans Recipe it’ll be hard not to make it a staple in your repertoire! Trust us on this one – it’s simply irresistible.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Southern-Style Green Beans Recipe:
– Green Beans:
Fresh string beans are preferred for this recipe, but canned green beans will work just fine in case of unavailability. We’ll be referring to them as “green beans” throughout the article.
Bacon will bring an extra layer of flavor to our beloved southern green beans. You can use any bacon you like; even turkey bacon. Go for a thick-cut variety and slice it into pieces before cooking.
– Onion & Garlic Cloves:
Onion and garlic are must-haves in Southern cooking. Both flavors add a significant depth of flavor in any dish, and our green beans are no exception.
– Chicken Broth:
Add chicken broth to give a savory touch to our green beans. The best is a homemade version, but if you don’t have the time or ingredients, store-bought chicken broth works too.
– Tomato Sauce:
Tomato sauce gives a delicious tangy touch that balances out the savoriness of chicken broth and the smokiness of bacon. Any store-bought tomato sauce can be used for this recipe.
– Smoked Meat:
If you want to go authentic with your Southern-style green beans, adding smoked meat like ham hocks or smoked sausage will give a unique flavor that brings up memories of childhood comfort food. However, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, opt for veggie bacon bits instead!
– Salt & Pepper:
These classic seasonings enhance the flavor of everything- green beans included! We will be using salt and pepper in this recipe generously.
– Cayenne Pepper:
Cayenne pepper adds heat and spiciness to the recipe. If you can’t handle too much heat, use only a little bit or skip it entirely!
The Recipe How-To
Prepping the Green Beans
Start by washing and trimming 1 ½ lbs of fresh green beans. A quick tip when trimming is to line up the ends and carefully cut them off together.
After you’ve washed and trimmed the green beans, get a large pot of salted water boiling. Add the green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes, but make sure they stay crisp-tender. After cooking, immediately place the green beans in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and set them aside.
Preparing the Smoked Bacon and Onion-Garlic Mixture
Dice 6 slices of bacon into small pieces and cook in a Dutch oven or large pot until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon and set it aside, reserving the bacon grease in the pot.
In the same pot, add 1 diced onion and 3 minced garlic cloves, sautéing until they become tender. Be careful not to brown or burn them.
Next, add back in the crispy bacon in the pot along with a cup of chicken broth, a cup of tomato sauce, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Stir well until combined.
Combining Everything Together
Now’s time to combine everything together! Add in your prepped green beans in the pot with smoked bacon and onion-garlic mixture. Give it a good stir then let everything simmer for up to an hour or 2 hours if you want more tender green beans.
If you’re using smoked meat like ham hocks or turkey necks as opposed to smoked bacon, add in 1 lb of smoked meat at this point.
After simmering, your Southern-Style Green Beans should be ready to savor! Garnish your dish with more crispy bacon pieces on top for an extra texture crunch.
Note: If making this dish in a slow cooker, cook bacon and onion-garlic mixture in a separate pan before adding to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours. For a vegetarian option, omit the meat and use vegetable broth.
Substitutions and Variations
Just because you’re making a classic southern-style green bean recipe, it doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your ingredients. Here are a few substitutions and variations that I recommend trying out to elevate this dish even further:
Non-Dairy/Vegan: If you want to make this recipe dairy-free or vegan, omit the bacon and chicken broth and instead use vegetable broth to keep the flavorful base of the dish intact. You can also experiment with adding in some extra spices like cayenne pepper to give it a little kick.
Smoked Meat: While bacon is a classic addition to southern-style green beans, you can also experiment with using other smoked meats like ham hocks or sausage for a different flavor profile. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as some meats may take longer than bacon to fully cook.
Fresh String Beans: While canned green beans work well in this recipe, fresh string beans can add a bright burst of flavor and texture. Simply blanch them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes before adding them into the recipe.
Potatoes: For an even heartier side dish, consider adding in some diced potatoes along with the green beans. This will create a one-pot meal that’s perfect for chilly fall evenings.
Slow Cooker: If you’re short on time, consider preparing this recipe in a slow cooker instead of on the stove. Simply combine all of your ingredients in the slow cooker and let them cook on low heat for 4-6 hours (or high heat for 2-3 hours).
Green Bean Casserole: Want to switch things up even more? Turn this classic side dish into a casserole by stirring in some condensed cream of mushroom soup and topping everything with crispy fried onions before baking it in the oven. Delicious!
Serving and Pairing
Now that your southern-style green beans are ready to eat, it’s time to think about how best to complement them. These delectable string beans make the perfect side dish for nearly any main course you might be cooking up in your kitchen.
For a classic pairing, serve your green beans alongside some good old-fashioned fried chicken. The savory and slightly smoky notes of the green beans will balance out the bold flavors of the crispy fried chicken. Alternatively, you could opt for another Southern favorite and pair these green beans with some ham hocks or meatloaf.
If you’re looking for a lighter option, try serving your green beans next to grilled or baked fish. The brightness of the tomato sauce and garlic smoked bacon pairs perfectly with the tender flaky fish. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try adding some diced potatoes to your green beans as they simmer? This creates a heartier dish that pairs well with roasted pork or beef roast.
No matter what you serve it with, this zesty southern-style side dish is sure to take any meal to the next level!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
As a chef, I understand the importance of meal planning and prepping. Fortunately, this southern-style green beans recipe is easy to make-ahead, store and reheat.
You can prepare the beans up to two days in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve, you can reheat them on the stove over low heat or in the microwave oven.
If you want to keep the veggies fresh for longer, I recommend storing them separately from any meat or other ingredients that release moisture. For example, you can cook the bacon separately and store it in a different container until you are ready to use it.
To ensure that your left-over green beans taste just as delicious as they did when they were freshly cooked, be sure to reheat them gently over low heat instead of microwaving them at high power. When reheating, add some additional chicken broth or tomato sauce to keep the beans moist and flavorful.
In summary, this recipe is perfect for prepping ahead of time for a party or if you want to have leftovers for later. Just make sure to store everything properly so that the green beans stay fresh and tasty even after reheating.
Tips for Perfect Results
If you’re looking to achieve the perfect southern-style green beans, there are a few tips and tricks that can make all the difference in your final dish. Southern-style green beans are all about slow cooking and bold flavors, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you prepare your dish. Here are some tips that can help take your green beans from good to great:
1. Use Smoked Meat for Extra Flavor – If you really want to make your green beans shine, consider using smoked meat like bacon or ham hocks. The smoky flavor will infuse the beans and create a depth of flavor that is hard to resist.
2. Cook the Beans Low and Slow – One of the keys to great southern-style green beans is taking your time with them. Don’t rush the cooking process by cranking up the heat; instead, let them simmer low and slow for at least an hour, if not two. This will allow the flavors to meld together and create a rich taste.
3. Add Some Heat – If you like a bit of spice in your dishes, consider adding cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to your green beans. Just a pinch will do, but it can add an extra kick that takes this dish to a whole new level.
4. Use Fresh Garlic and Onion – While it may be tempting to use pre-minced garlic or onion powder for convenience, taking the time to use fresh garlic cloves and onions will result in a much better flavor overall.
5. Shock the Beans with an Ice Bath – Once your beans are cooked to perfection, immediately remove them from the pot and place them into an ice bath. Doing so will not only stop the cooking process, but it will also help prevent the beans from becoming mushy or discolored.
By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to creating a dish of southern-style green beans that your guests won’t soon forget. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and preparation methods, either- the best dishes often come from a little bit of trial and error!
As with any recipe, there are bound to be questions about the ingredient choices, cooking techniques, and variations. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions in this section to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best Southern-Style Green Beans dish possible. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, these tips will help you achieve perfect results every time. So let’s dive into some common queries that may come to your mind while cooking Southern-Style Green Beans.
What can I add to green beans for flavor?
Spicing up your green beans is made easy with the help of garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt, and pepper, which all add amazing flavor and freshness to your dish.
What are green beans called in the South?
If you’re on the hunt for a savory side dish bursting with Southern flavor that can be enjoyed during holidays or as an indulgent treat at any time of the year, look no further than Southern green beans. This recipe boasts slow-cooked, simmered green beans that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
How do I jazz up green beans?
Looking for some tasty toppings to take your southern-style dishes to the next level? Look no further! Here are some delicious options to choose from: juicy pomegranate seeds and crunchy pecans, crispy bacon or lardons, tangy goat cheese crumbles and fresh chopped herbs, nutty toasted almonds, fragrant herbs and bright lemon zest, flavorful toasted pine nuts, sweet-tart cranberries and herbs, sauteed shallot and garlic for some savory goodness, and for our vegan friends, a non-dairy cheesy sprinkle or cheese sauce. Regardless of your dietary preferences, these toppings will add a burst of flavor and texture to your southern-style dishes.
What does an ice bath do to green beans?
When preparing green beans, blanching them is a helpful technique that not only cooks them slightly but also makes them tender. After blanching, it’s recommended to place them in an ice bath, which halts the cooking process, allowing you to save the partially cooked green beans for later use. This trick also helps in extending their longevity.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a flavorful and hearty side dish to complement any meal, look no further than this Southern-Style Green Beans recipe. With its combination of bacon, onion, garlic, chicken broth, and tomato sauce, it’s sure to impress even the pickiest eaters at your table. Plus, with variations and substitutions like ham hocks or canned green beans, you can customize it to your taste and preference.
Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-make dish or a slow-cooked treat that simmers for hours on end, this recipe has got you covered. And with its versatility as both a Non-Dairy Vegan option or a meat-filled Southern classic, you won’t have to worry about leaving anyone out.
So go ahead and give this recipe a try – I promise that you won’t be disappointed! Serve it alongside your favorite main dish or mix it with some potatoes for a comforting casserole. Just be sure to make extra because your guests will undoubtedly ask for seconds (and maybe even thirds!).
Southern-Style Green Beans Recipe
- 2 lbs green beans, trimmed
- 6 ounces bacon, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch cayenne, to taste
- Slice bacon into half-inch pieces and fry in pot over medium heat until almost crisp.
- Slice onion (with the grain). Add to pot and saute over bacon and fat until wilted (about 5 minutes).
- Add minced garlic. Cook for about a minute, don't allow to brown.
- Stir in tomato sauce.
- Add green beans and chicken broth and remaining spices.
- Simmer for 2 hours.