Amy’s grandmother, Mama Dot, was born into a large farming family in rural Alabama, and out of necessity began cooking for the family at age eight. She stood on a wooden block so she could reach the top of their wood-burning stove.
She has always been one hard-working woman with a great deal of self discipline and steadfast faith, and a natural ability to create hearty comfort food recipes.
‘Farm-To-Table‘ at her house was walking out to the vegetable garden with a basket and picking your ingredients, taking them into the kitchen and preparing breakfast, dinner and supper. (In the American south, lunch is called dinner because it’s oftentimes the largest meal of the day).
We oftentimes refer to sustainable cafes as ‘like Mama Dot’s table.’
She is known for many blue ribbon dishes, like pan cornbread, excellent crunchy and seasoned fried chicken, brunswick stew, sweet milk gravy and the most flavorful green beans you will ever taste. Ever-so-long low boiled smoky bacon, onion and garlic. She’s made them for over eighty years … now that’s a proven recipe!
This time we’ve taken Mama Dot’s version and added green chiles. Because it seems to be our mission to get chiles into everything we make.
The rest … it’s all about seasoning and the loooooong low boil.
Saute onion with thick cut smoky bacon. Then add minced garlic.
Use good homemade or good quality store bought chicken broth.
Add salt, black pepper, and just to be sure it’s well seasoned, garlic and onion powder.
When everything is combined, it cooks for 2 hours and 15 minutes. They would be tender enough at 45 minutes. In fact, they’re fantastic at 45 minutes. But the texture we love (and this is very common in the south) is when it seems like you put them on simmer and forgot about them for a while … when they’re falling apart but not too mushy.
At this point, they’re perfect. You can stop right here. Don’t need anything but a big spoon and to go back for seconds. Flawless smoky flavor.
But 2 cups of chopped green chile adds that unmistakeable herby flavor we love. We use canned Hatch green chile, although fresh roasted and prepped are better and …. well, fresher.
When you drain them, be sure to save the broth to store in the freezer and use later for a soup or stew base. It’s fantastic for green chile pork stew with posole.
Because we know Mama Dot is reading this …
… Amy would like to take this opportunity to say …
Thank you for letting me hang out in your kitchen, ask a million questions and learn how to cook. Every day you prepared meals for a large family … kept an eye on the biscuits while the gravy thickened, glazed the hams as they baked, along with casseroles, grits, creamy potatoes and so many more dishes, all to perfection. When I think about it, you prepared the equivalent of a Thanksgiving meal all year long. When I walk into a southern or comfort food restaurant, I know it’s good if it smells like your kitchen. You always made us feel special and truly loved. You are an amazing woman and I love you. xo Amy
MAMA DOT’S BLUE RIBBON GREEN BEANS
- 2 lbs fresh green beans
- 2 Tblsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (chopped in small chunks)
- 4 pieces thick cut bacon
- 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 cups chicken stock (pref. low sodium non-msg)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cups chopped green chile (mild, medium or hot - 27 oz. can)
- crisped bacon for garnish if desired
This is my Alabama born and raised grandmother's tried and true recipe. She's made this for over 80 years, so you can be sure it's a blue ribbon experience. I've added mild green chiles for a South meets Southwest fusion, and prefer mild green chiles so as not to overwhelm the tender green beans. But heat is subjective, like any work of art. So mild, medium or hot ... your preference.
|Prep the green beans by washing in cool water. Then cutting off the stem ends and cutting in half.|
|Heat the olive oil in a large pot to medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and bacon. Saute and stir for 5 to 6 minutes until the onions are just tender but not browned. Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes.|
|Pour in the water and chicken broth. As it comes to a boil, add the salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder.|
|Once it has reached a rolling boil, add the green beans. Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce to medium low heat (that's a 3 out of 10 on my stovetop) and cover with lid.|
|Let simmer for 2 hours -- meaning let it cook at a very low boil where the liquid is visibly bubbling and rolling, but not vigorously. Stirring every 20 minutes or so.|
|After 2 hours, add the 2 cups chopped green chiles. Simmer 15 more minutes at medium low.|
|When you drain everything, be sure to reserve all of the broth because it will make the most amazing base for a pork or veggie posole or hominy stew. So, drain and remove the bacon strips.|
|Serve warm. Top with crumbled crisp bacon if desired. |
As a side dish, or as a base for a gorgeous stuffed pork chop ... or as a main dish mixed with fingerling potatoes and sliced ham steak.