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Playing These Southern-Style Green Beans Are Perfect for the Holidays

“As a professional chef, I learned to never overcook green beans. I carefully watched pots so that the beans wouldn’t go from perfectly crisp-tender to squeaky soft. But I’ve reclaimed my Granny’s cooked-to-death green beans. The key is to get past that stage where the green beans are overcooked and still have a little bite to where they’re so overcooked, they’re totally tender.”


  • 2 teaspoons rendered bacon fat*
  • 1 large onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock or store-bought unsalted broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes (about 18), a strip peeled from each**
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed


Serves: 4


Heat the bacon fat in a 5-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and chile flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the stock, potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced with a fork, but are still firm.

Add the green beans, cover, and simmer until very tender, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes and green beans to a serving dish. Bring the liquid to a boil and boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Spoon over the vegetables and gently fold to mix. Serve hot.

*If you don’t have rendered bacon fat on hand, you can cook 4 strips to get the fat needed in this recipe. You can then crumble the cooked bacon on at the end too

**Here’s how Granny always peeled her spuds for this dish: she removed just one strip of peel the width of the peeler around the center of each potato. So, the rounds are naked in the middle, but have caps of peel on two ends.