In the “ole” days with old ways, you used to put a ham hock in a pot of boiling water and throw in your green beans, cover and cook until the water had evaporated and the gracious life had been reduced out of them. My family nicknamed them “DEAD BEANS”. As my culinary experiences expanded, I came to know healthier version for preparing beans like steaming, or blanching in salted water. For instance, you can find a recipe on my website www.ahomechef.com for Green Beans Almondine. I think these versions called for a smaller, freshly picked bean and one that performs really well is haricot verts—a shorter, thinner variety that takes very little time to become tender.
In order to add flavor that the ham hock used to provide, and be a bit more healthy, this is my method of cooking:
1/2 pound green beans
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
1 heaping teaspoon of Better Than Bullion Chicken Base
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a small pot on medium high heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the beans and cover with water. Stir in the bouillon, cover and cook on low until the water has almost evaporated (about 30-45 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste, being careful with the salt because bouillon is salty. * You can add thyme or basil or any herb you like, but I am fond of just the simple taste of fresh beans. (I don’t even miss the ham hock!) Serves 2.
If you found some new potatoes at the market, throw them in with the green beans and they will absorb the flavor and the “goodness” and become a one-pot veggie dish. Also, if your corn isn’t freshly picked, you could do the same with it—but if picked that morning, I advise to put it in boiling water for no more than 5 minutes (no butter or salt needed in my opinion). Oh, the richness of summer vegetables!