Thanksgiving 2013 – Old-Fashioned Southern Green Beans

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Southern green beans. This is the real thing, and they’re even better the next day!

Yield:  12 servings

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs. fresh green beans

5 cups water

4-5 oz. smoked hog jowl

1 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on saltiness of the seasoning meat)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon (or more) honey

A red-pepper pod or red-pepper flakes

1 onion, quartered

Directions:

Put the water, smoked hog jowl, honey, onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a 5-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil on high heat. Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or more.

While the hog jowl is simmering, you’ll have time to prepare the green beans. Remove the ends and strings, and snap into pieces of desired length, discarding any beans that are blemished or wilted. Wash the beans in cold water and drain.

When the hog jowl has simmered for at least 30 minutes, remove any scum from the surface of the water. Add the green beans to the pot, turn up the heat, and bring back to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans — partially covered — for 3 full hours. It’s important to simmer the beans with the pot only partially covered. Between the pot and the edge of the lid, leave an opening of at least a quarter of an inch on one side, so that the steam can easily escape.

Once an hour or so, gently turn the beans so that those on the bottom are brought to the top and vice versa. The reason: the beans on the top will not be in contact with the water, and it’s important that all the beans in the pot get some time on top, out of the water.

In determining the heat setting on which to simmer the beans, the goal is to simmer them for 3 hours such that the water and the 3 hours run out at pretty much the same time. If you’ve simmered the beans for 3 hours and there is still water in the pot, just turn up the heat a tad and keep simmering until the water is gone. Of course, if you’ve used too much heat, you may have to add a little water before the end to keep the pot from boiling dry — just don’t cook the beans any less than 3 hours. You’ll probably find, however, that in a 5-quart Dutch oven 5 cups of water will just about be gone if you’ve simmered on low heat, with the lid 1/4 inch open, for 3 hours.

When done, the beans will be a good bit darker green than before being cooked. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the beans from the pot and put them in a serving bowl.

It Wouldn’t Be Thanksgiving Without Southern Green Beans

This is the real thing!

2-3 lbs. fresh green beans

5 cups water

4-5 oz. smoked hog jowl

1 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on saltiness of the seasoning meat)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon (or more) honey

A red-pepper pod or red-pepper flakes

1 onion, quartered

Directions:

Put the water, smoked hog jowl, honey, onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a 5-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil on high heat. Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or more.

While the hog jowl is simmering, you’ll have time to prepare the green beans. Remove the ends and strings, and snap into pieces of desired length, discarding any beans that are blemished or wilted. Wash the beans in cold water and drain.

When the hog jowl has simmered for at least 30 minutes, remove any scum from the surface of the water. Add the green beans to the pot, turn up the heat, and bring back to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans — partially covered — for 3 full hours. It’s important to simmer the beans with the pot only partially covered. Between the pot and the edge of the lid, leave an opening of at least a quarter of an inch on one side, so that the steam can easily escape.

Once an hour or so, gently turn the beans so that those on the bottom are brought to the top and vice versa. The reason: the beans on the top will not be in contact with the water, and it’s important that all the beans in the pot get some time on top, out of the water.

In determining the heat setting on which to simmer the beans, the goal is to simmer them for 3 hours such that the water and the 3 hours run out at pretty much the same time. If you’ve simmered the beans for 3 hours and there is still water in the pot, just turn up the heat a tad and keep simmering until the water is gone. Of course, if you’ve used too much heat, you may have to add a little water before the end to keep the pot from boiling dry — just don’t cook the beans any less than 3 hours. You’ll probably find, however, that in a 5-quart Dutch oven 5 cups of water will just about be gone if you’ve simmered on low heat, with the lid 1/4 inch open, for 3 hours.

When done, the beans will be a good bit darker green than before being cooked. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the beans from the pot and put them in a serving bowl.

Perfect Butter Beans With Ham Hocks And Honey

Butter beans aka lima beans are both tasty and full of health benefits.

Like many other legumes, they are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein.

They contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which aids in the prevention of constipation, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis

The high fiber content in lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after eating them.

They can therefore help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy, which makes them a good choice for people with diabetes suffering with insulin resistance.

The magnesium content of lima beans is a calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is present veins and arteries relax, which reduces resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

This recipe is a tasty addition to any fall menu!

Perfect Butter Beans with Ham Hocks and Honey

2 c dry butter beans
1/2 lb lean smoked ham hocks
2 fat cloves of garlic, smashed
3-4 T honey

The night before you plan to serve the beans, put the beans in a non-reactive bowl cover with cold water. Leave uncovered. Let soak for 12-18 hours.

Discard soaking water. Add ham hocks to a dutch oven, garlic cloves, and pour in soaked beans. Then cover with fresh water only until the beans are barely covered. Bring to a full rolling boil, then cover the dutch oven and turn down to medium-low. Simmer for 4 hours.

Check beans to make sure they’re done all the way through and creamy. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour if necessary.  Lift the hocks out with tongs and let cool slightly. Strip the meat off the bones, remove any chunks of fat or skin, and flake the meat back into the beans. Stir, taste for salt, and serve with with a big dollop of honey on top.

Adapted from an awesome recipe at smallworldsupperclub.wordpress.com

Honey Baked Beans

Baked beans are a traditional Fourth of July side dish, and this recipe is the best!!

It takes a little time, but the taste and texture are worth it!!

4 cups dried navy, great northern, or other white beans, rinsed and soaked in cold water overnight
8 cups water, or part water and chicken or ham broth
about 1/2 pound bacon
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup honey
1 cup ketchup, preferrably Heinz
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 TBLS worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

 

Cook the beans in the 8 cups of water or water & stock until tender (about 1 hour). Chop the bacon and fry it until it is starting to brown and release fat, then add the chopped onions, and cook until they soften. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the ketchup, mustard, honey, and worcestershire sauce. Drain the beans and save the cooking water. Put the beans in a big casserole, and pour in the onion mixture, the cooking water, and salt & pepper to taste. Bake in the preheated 325 degree oven for about 2 hours, until there is a nice crust on top, the liquid is absorbed, and the beans are tender. (add more hot water or stock if they dry out too fast)