Nana’s Green Beans
The first year I went away to college I came back home for the weekend and prepared some fresh green beans as a side dish for my family. I probably would not remember the encounter if my paternal grandmother Nana, a professional baker and cook in her own right, could not stop raving, saying they were the best green beans she ever tasted. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of what I did to create the original Nana’s Green Beans. In those days I was still eating meat so a piece or two could have been involved. (If you’re carnivorous, I would start by frying a few pieces of bacon at the bottom of the pot and when they were crisp then you add the water, green beans and seasonings).
The recipe I share here is in tribute to Nana and in keeping with Southern tradition. I love steamed green beans too, a method which helps the legume to maintain many of its’ nutritional properties, but the beans here are not that – as the seasonings are absorbed they will taste even better the second day. In order to get as many of the nutrients as possible, again and always, drink the pot liquor. A vegan and vegetarian option is also provided below. I like to keep my green beans relatively simple so that their inherent sweetness comes through and the beans don’t compete but complement some of the spicier dishes we tend to serve. Also, if you hate strings, younger beans are your bet. Make some Superb Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Italiana, throw in a Broccoli Salad and dinner is served.
Nana’s Green Beans
4.5 Lbs. Fresh Green Beans (12 Cups)
4 Cups Water
4 Organic New Potatoes
2 Large Cloves Organic Garlic
1 Tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Stock or Vegetarian Chicken Bouillon
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Spike Original Seasoning or Organic Seasoned Salt
2 Dashes Old Bay Seasoning
Add water, green beans and seasonings to a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and let simmer. After 15 minutes, add new potatoes. Cook an additional 15 minutes. How long you cook fresh green beans depends on if you want them al dente which preserves some of the fiber we all need or super soft the way Nana used to make them. Cook them 15 to 30 minutes more if you want the traditional Southern dish. Serve!