Southern vegetable dishes are usually slowly simmered and seasoned with pork for a long period of time, creating a salty flavor killing all signs of life. The cooking time of green beans are easily indicated by the color. Freshly picked green beans have a mild color turning a bright spring green when blanched. Southern recipes use long cooked green beans with a dark, military green hue.
Cooking greens for a long period of time is not a favorite technique, for I enjoy the taste of mildly blanched bright green beans. A slight crunchy bite indicates its freshness, too. This recipe is a healthy alternative to Southern green bean recipes, with a less cooking time. The apple cider adds a mild acidic and sweet taste to the saltiness of the bacon. If possible, garnish the green beans with wheat instead of white breadcrumbs for a delightful texture.
There isn’t a right or wrong length of time for cooking green beans. It’s a personal preference. However, a limited cooking time is a healthier option to revive the fresh taste of green beans.
Apple Cider Green Beans with Bacon
- 1 cup of heavily salted water or low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 lb. green beans; trimmed and cut into 2 inches in length
- 6 strips bacon (turkey, pork or duck); roughly chopped*
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4-cup minced red onion
- 2 tbsp. apple cider
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
- Crushed red pepper; to taste
- 1/2-cup wheat or white breadcrumbs**
Serves 4; Easily increase ingredients for larger parties
- Bring heavily salted water or chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add green beans to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. Cook for about six to eight minutes. Drain and rinse green beans with cold water to stop them from cooking. Place aside.
- In a black skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Place bacon in the skillet. Stir frequently and cook until brown and crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the same skillet. Add the red onions, sea salt, fresh black pepper and crushed red pepper. Stir frequently until the onions are translucent.
- Add the green beans, bacon and apple cider to the red onions. Gently mix together.
- Place greens beans in a serving dish. If possible, allow the flavors to marinate in the refrigerator for few hours. When ready to serve, top with breadcrumbs.
*Use minimally process bacon without growth hormones.
** Make your own breadcrumbs by breaking stale and hard French bread into large chunks into a food processor. Process until the mixture is a fine crumb. Store in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to use. Bonus flavor tip: Process stale cornbread into a fine crumb and use as a topping.