Friday, November 4, 2016

Country Green Beans with Ham and Potatoes

Country Green Beans with Ham and Potatoes - Green beans, slow stewed in a ham broth, with chunks of torn ham or tasso and potatoes, and served with a flavorful pot likker.

Country Green Beans with Ham and Potatoes

If I had to pick only one vegetable I could eat for the rest of my life, it'd sure be hard. While The Cajun's veggie list is very limited, I pretty much love them all. Just take a look at the cover of my cookbook and you'll see one of my favorite meals ever! Yep, I'm a veggie plate gal and I can make a meal out of just about any vegetable pairing. Well... actually that cover shot was my supper that day!

There is one exception. Brussel sprouts. I keep trying to love those in the interest of being a food blogger, but I just can't seem to get there. They're just, well... okay, and out of all of the ways to fix them, the creamed version were my favorite, and though I've tried them many ways, they just don't get my taste buds too excited!

I reckon it'd be hard on me not to have some of the other vegetables, but green beans is the one I'd pick. We eat them a lot - fresh being my top choice, but heck I can dress up a can of green beans pretty good too for a quick weeknight meal, and frozen, though not my favorite, work in a pinch.

The best green beans are right off the vine, right from your own backyard, right in the heat of summer, but it seems the vast majority of us don't do much veggie gardening these days. We just don't have the time. One of our Deep South Dish family, Nancy, well I am totally in awe of her because she practically has a farm, and I get so envious when she shares on our Facebook page about all of the fresh produce she is putting up from her gardens.

Well, although I keep a tiny, little garden every year, I'm awfully grateful fresh green beans can now be found pretty much year round in the grocery market, and green beans are one vegetable that don't seem to suffer the travel they sometimes have to make.

My favorite way to eat fresh green beans, hands-down, are the southern-style, "cooked to death," slow stewed version - though I don't actually boil mine to that awful grayish hue of death. A nice slow stew for me, and that's about the best green bean you can put in your mouth y'all! Just set the pot right in front of me and I'm a happy gal.

Next to that would be the quick-fix version, and that's the one that I prepare the most, when I'm not going with the shortcut ones from a can, but I love green beans so many ways - slow stewed, quick fix, bacon wrapped in bundles, as a cold salad, pickled cold, in some southern peas, served in a hot sweet and sour bacon fat vinaigrette, in a skillet meal, and, of course, in a casserole.

Pork, in some form, usually plays into the flavor profile for my green beans. My slow stewed beans are flavored with fat back or salt pork; the quick fix, bacon - but for these, it's all about the ham. I cook hams all through the year, not just on holidays, so I'll use a ham bone when I have a few of them in the freezer. Otherwise it's more commonly pork hocks, and I prefer to give them a little head start when I have time, by cooking the bone down in a little water first to flavor the cooking water, though these beans are good too when you just throw it all together at once.

Fill a pot with water and add ham bone or hocks. Bring to a boil, reduce to a medium boil and cook for 30 minutes. Reserve water, skimming off any accumulated foam.


Rinse, trim and snap green beans in half or thirds. Add to pot, along with chicken base (like Better than Bouillon) for some additional flavor.


Add some pepper and chopped onion and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer, and cook, uncovered for 1 hour.


Remove the ham bone or pork hocks and set aside, once cool enough to handle, pull any meat off and add to pot. If your ham bone or hock is good and meaty, you likely won't need to add in any extra ham, but if it isn't, you'll definitely want to add some additional chopped country ham, tasso, or smoked ham to the beans. Any time I bake a ham, I put up a few chunks in a vacuum sealed bag just for things like this.


Add potatoes and continue cooking until tender, about 25 minutes. I have red potatoes on hand much more often than russets, so I add them unpeeled, while russets I peel. Taste, add Cajun seasoning and taste again, adjusting for salt and pepper.


Finish by stirring in a pat of butter or bacon fat, if desired, and transfer with some of the pot likker to a serving bowl.


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Yum

Recipe: Country Green Beans with Ham and Potatoes

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 meaty smoked ham hocks or ham bone
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon or base (like Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup country ham, tasso, or baked ham, pulled or chopped, optional
  • 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, chopped into chunks (about 3-4 medium)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or bacon fat, to finish, optional
Instructions

Fill pot with water and add ham bone or hocks. Bring to a boil, reduce to a medium boil and cook for 30 minutes. Reserve water, skimming off any accumulated foam.

Rinse, trim and snap green beans in half or thirds. Add to pot, along with chicken base, pepper and onion, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer, and cook, uncovered for 1 hour.

Remove hocks and set aside, once cool enough to handle, pull any meat off and add to pot. Add potatoes and continue cooking until tender, about 25 minutes. Taste, add Cajun seasoning and taste again, adjusting for salt and pepper. Finish by stirring in the butter or bacon fat, if desired, and transfer with some of the pot likker to a serving bowl.

Cook's Notes: I start with water and add chicken base to the beans, however you may certainly use all chicken broth. Remember, these beans are slow stewed, not boiled. They need to remain on a very bare simmer the entire cooking time - do not let them boil. Use fresh, raw green beans only, not frozen or canned. May substitute peeled Russets or your favorite potato, such as Yukon Gold. Tasso is highly seasoned and country ham is highly salty. Do not add any additional seasonings until you taste the beans first when using those. Freeze any leftover pot likker that doesn't get eaten to use in other recipes, like beans, soups and stews.

For the Slow Cooker: Prepare as above allowing ham bone or pork hocks to cook in water for 4 to 5 hours on high. Remove and pull meat, returning to slow cooker along with remaining ingredients and enough water or chicken broth to cover, plus an inch. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or to desired tenderness. Taste and add Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper as needed; stir in butter.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on November 4, 2016

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8 comments:

  1. Love, love, love green beans cooked with a ham hock or bacon. I grew up with my mother cooking them slow on the stove all day-with fat back and they are so good. My northern mil says I "cook my green beans to death" but hers are bland tasting (she opens up a can dumps it in a pan and adds a little salt.) I also had them this way at school in northern Ohio. But at home I ate Southern and cook that way. I like Brussel sprouts but everyone else in my family doesn't. About the only vegetables I don't like are squash, sweet potatoes/yams & pumpkin. The chicken base (Better than Bouillon) is wonderful. I just made potato soup and put in two tablespoons.
    Happy Fall. Tricia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Fall to you too Tricia & thanks so much for stopping by! BTB is my favorite enhancer - just a tablespoon or two can really boost the flavor of a soup or stew. Have you tried the Kitchen Basics stocks yet. They really knock the socks off of other boxed broths!

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  2. Looks delicious Mary - you cook your beans pretty much the same as us and I like the addition of ham and potatoes - Mom always cooked potatoes with her green beans. I think you either like or don't like sprouts and if it's a don't, it's pretty much impossible to do enough to hide their flavor. Just give up and eat the stuff you do like :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, do I detect that you also are not a fan either Larry?! ;) Truly they aren't "that" bad or anything, and a lot of folks seem to love them, so I keep trying to find some love!

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  3. Green beans and potatoes also good using country ham. For Brussel sprouts, try steaming them in butter, sprinkled with a little brown sugar and sprinkled with fresh grated parmesan.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, country ham is included in the recipe! I don't think I've tried the brown sugar with brussels, but I'll give it a try next time I decide to make some, thanks!

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  4. Sorry I do think much of Brussel Sprouts either, but these beans are the bomb. I usually have a pork hock of two around. The dogs think they are in heaven with a raw hock to chew on. I have never tried potatoes in my green beans, before but with a couple meaty hocks and the potatoes this is a meal, instead of a side dish.

    ReplyDelete

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