When I was little I can remember my Mom taking me out to the garden to pick fresh green beans. I thought it was so much fun carrying my little basket and walking behind her and watching her every move. Then we would sit out of the back porch and with two big bowls in our laps, we would snap them and I just loved that sound. What she created for supper that night with those green beans has never left my memory. She used to say, "we're gonna have a big ol' mess of beans and cornbread tonight." Oh what a supper!
Southern Green Beans and Ham
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced or chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 ham hocks, ham end pieces or ham shanks
2 to 3 pounds of fresh green beans, cleaned and snapped
3 cans chicken broth
3 cans water (use a broth can to measure)
1 tablespoon sugar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Place ham hocks or shanks in water enough to cover & let simmer a good 2 hours. Remove ham & set aside to cool. Reserve broth. When cool enough to handle, cut into chunks.
In a large heavy stock pot, melt butter on medium high. Add onions and garlic and ham. Cook until onions and garlic are tender and meat has browned a bit.
Turn down the heat to medium and add green beans, chicken broth and 3 cans full of the broth from the cooked ham hocks. Just cover the beans with the liquid. If you need a bit more water, add it. Cover and cook beans for about an hour. Add, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well.
NOTE: You can also add some potatoes to your beans. Just peel and dice 8 potatoes and add to your beans at this point. Cover and cook for another 25 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove lid for the last 10 minutes of cook time. Check and re-season if necessary.
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