Green Beans, Southern Style

My sister-in-law Sue, always brought her green beans to the family Thanksgiving dinner. She always used pole beans and a little bit of fatback...or maybe it was a lot of fatback. Simple. Traditional. Really good! This has been one of my favorite holiday dishes since Dewey and I married. Sue is recovering from a stroke this year. I searched and couldn't find pole beans. Even the pole beans didn't look like pole beans! Hard times call for drastic measures. This year, I used straight green beans for Thanksgiving, but I trimmed them the way Sue always did with the pole beans. What we'll do to experience that perfect food memory knows no bounds sometimes. I'll do it again for Christmas.
Laptop view. Stringing bean while watching television.

An authentic Southern recipe as shared with me orally by my sister-in-law Sue Thompson.
  • 2 lbs pole beans (or whatever you can find)
  • 3 oz fatback
  • 32 oz chicken stock or water
  • salt and black pepper
  1. String the beans using a vegetable peeler. Snap into smaller pieces if you wish.
  2. Dice the fatback.
  3. Heat a heavy pan and add the fatback. Cook over low heat until most of the fat has rendered and you're left with small crispy pieces.
  4. Add the green/pole beans and stock or water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a gentle boil.
  5. In about thirty minutes, taste the beans and adjust seasoning. Continue to cook until tender.
  6. I cook ahead of time, up to three days, and reheat (covered) in a 350F oven.


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