Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Southern-inspired Green Beans with Bacon

The flavours of green beans and bacon really compliment each other, and this is a nice way to cook them in the style of a Southern braise, but keeping the texture of the beans intact.

We served these braised, with trout in a lemon butter and new potatoes first time around, and then we served them with my American-style Pot Roast Brisket of Beef second time around (cooked differently, as in this method), along with my Spinach and Mushroom Gratin, for Sunday Dinner.

This makes six small side servings (with other sides, 30 calories each) with a roast dinner, or three servings as a single side (60 calories each) with a lighter meal.

220g fresh fine green beans, topped/tailed [55]
2 slices smoked lean back bacon, trimmed of visible fat and diced [60]
1/2 an onion, finely diced (50g) [21]
2 garlic cloves, crushed [12]
1/2 tsp neutral oil (e.g. sunflower) [23]
150ml chicken stock (e.g. Knorr Touch of Taste) [6]
Optional pinch of chilli flakes (depending on what you're serving them with) [1]
Freshly ground black pepper [1]

(For quickly-cooked just-tender beans - see Notes below for a long braise)
Brown the bacon in a non-stick pan which has a lid, in the oil over a medium heat until just starting to crisp on the edges. Add the diced onion, and cook for a couple of minutes until starting to soften, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are fully softened, making sure the garlic doesn't catch on the pan.

Add the chicken stock (and the pinch of chilli flakes if using), and cook for around ten minutes, until reduced by half.

Then add the beans, toss in the other ingredients and put the lid on, and cook for about 7 minutes, shaking occasionally until the beans are just tender (or for longer, if you prefer). Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Pot Roast Brisket of Beef with Green Beans with Bacon


The first time we cooked this, we did it 'Southern-style', and added the beans and chicken stock together then braised for 40-45 minutes. On the positive side, the beans really took on the other flavours, especially the bacon. However, they didn't actually taste much like beans any more (which for some people might be a positive, I suppose!), and they were (as expected) very soft and falling apart, texture wise. Which is why we decided to try another way of cooking them.
Green Beans braised with Bacon, with a long braise.

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