Slooow Country Green Beans ♥

Today's vegetable recipe: Fresh green beans cooked 'low and slow' for ten hours until the beans turn almost buttery (but not mushy).

Not so pretty but taste-wise, wonderfulThese beans win no beauty prize but in the talent department, they take home the crown.

The trick is time -- six hours ten hours. I snapped the picture and tasted the beans after just six hours -- very good. But after ten? Delicious. The beans turn buttery -- but not mushy, they hold their structure. The flavor is rich and sweet with a character that's new to me in beans.

A SOUTHERN? ITALIAN? TURKISH? SPECIALTY Five minutes of Google leads me to believe that slow-cooked beans are (1) a classic way to cook beans in the American South, especially when served, along with their 'pot liquor', with corn bread and (2) a classic Italian recipe, especially with tomatoes added and (3) famous in Turkey. To me, the irony is that the inspiring recipe comes from a cookbook about Midwestern food which calls them 'Indiana Green Beans'. My recommendation? We should all claim these beans. They're definitely down-home good cookin'.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes to start plus occasional stirring while cooking
Time to table: 11 hours
Makes 5 cups

2 pounds fresh green beans, ends snapped, broken into two or three pieces
1 yellow onion, cut in fat wedges and separated (the big size means that the pieces still discernible as onion even after the long cook)
1 ham hock (a meaty one if you can find it)
2 cups slow-roasted tomatoes (suggested substitute: a 15-ounce can of stewed tomatoes, broken into pieces, plus a teaspoon of fennel seed)
A cup or two of water

Salt & pepper

Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and let come to a simmer. Adjust heat to maintain slow simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. After several hours, remove the ham hock and cut the meat into pieces and return it (along with the bone and any large pieces of fat, if you like) to the pot. Some time later, season to taste. Cook for about 10 hours or until beans are almost buttery.

  • SEVERAL DAYS AHEAD - Roast the tomatoes
  • ONE or TWO DAYS BEFORE - Completely cook the beans
  • DAY OF - Rewarm the beans til hot clear through
LEFTOVER REPORT These warm up again and again without the beans breaking down.

I made these in a slow-cooker, perfect for Thanksgiving since no stove or oven spot is required -- plus easy to carry along and then reheat in someone else's home. But a slow simmer on top of the stove will work, too.
The ham hock adds saltiness so don't add extra salt until after several hours.
I used a batch of slow-roasted tomatoes and would recommend making a tray if you have the time.
Note to Vegetarians

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic


featured in 2006
~ World's Best Green Bean Casserole ~

more good Thanksgiving choices
~ Green Beans with Lemon & Pine Nuts ~
~ Green Beans with Onion & Almonds ~
~ Fresh Green Bean Salad with Asian Dressing ~

~ more green bean recipes ~

Move aside, turkeys. (No, not you, dear readers! Thanksgiving turkeys!) Here at A Veggie Venture, vegetables are the real stars of the Thanksgiving table. So it's new Thanksgiving recipes all November long for a fabulous collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipe ideas. Whether it's last year's famous World's Best Green Bean Casserole or a brand-new recipe which catches your fancy this year, move over turkeys, it's vegetables' time.

© Copyright 2007

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I really like this on Alanna. I like it so much it might be worth getting a slow cooker for.

  2. As long as your stove can maintain a slow simmer (I've cooked on a high-end Viking that can't, for example) then this should be no problem in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot. But if you're looking for an excuse to get a slow cooker, go for it!

  3. Yahoo -- another recipe to try in my new slow cooker! I'm for anything that is slow cooked, like those wonderful tomatoes.

  4. Ok, you have completely rocked the Thanksgiving vegetable world. I LOVE green beans. :)

  5. Growing up I thought this was the only way to eat green beans. Cookem' til they scream for mercy' is the way in Ky. Oh well, they taste best that! And I am madly in love with my crock pot, so here's another reason to use it. Thanks!

  6. First off - I am a huge fan of Veggie Venture, and I just recently subscribed to Kitchen Parade. I love your cooking!

    I am planning on making your Slow Country Green Beans for Thanksgiving this year, and I need a little advice. My Grandma can't have much salt in her diet, and I was thinking of maybe using bacon or bacon fat, but as I've never used ham hock before, I'm not sure which is the better choice for lower salt or all-around healthiness. I would love to know what your opinion/ideas were on this.

  7. First off :-), thank you so much for your kind words, you've MADE my day!

    Second, good for you, adapting your cooking for people health requirements and diet preferences. It's not always easy, nearly always requires thinking and planning.

    You know, if I were you, I'd skip the cured meat ingredient entirely. If you want to create a deep level of flavor, you might start off cooking the onions in olive oil until they're quite golden. You might also actually roast some tomatoes, to exact every bit of flavor from them. You'll also want to get no-salt tomato paste. This way, I think, you can extract the most flavor and perhaps -- maybe? -- not need to add any salt at all. A couple of hours before serving, if there's a certain blandness about the beans, before you do add salt, try deepening the flavor with herbs, perhaps dried sage, dried fennel, maybe rosemary too.

    Good luck! If you think of it, I'd love to know how you do.

  8. Hi Alanna,

    I wanted to thank you so much, the beans were a huge hit! All of my aunts wanted the recipe, so I just wanted to send you a copy of what I did also. I hope your Thanksgiving was great!

    Low-Sodium Beans a la Stella (Stella is my grandmother)

    1 Large Sweet Yellow Onion, sliced in large pieces
    1 Garlic Clove, peeled and smashed
    Flavorful Olive Oil
    2 1/2 lbs. Fresh Green Beans
    1 can Hunts Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained (these have some sodium in them so leaving the juice out helps cut down on that)
    1 can No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes, undrained
    2 heaping tablespoons Tomato Paste

    1. Saute the Onion & Garlic in a little Olive Oil until just starting to brown. Place in bottom of 5 or 6 qt. slow cooker.
    2. Snap ends off all of those beans, and break any large ones in half, putting them in the crockpot as you go. Wine helps this go quicker.
    3. Add Tomatoes and Tomato Paste.
    4. Add a few cups of water. The beans don't have to be covered, as they soften they will sink in, so about 2/3 of the way up the crock is good.
    5. Cook beans on low for 10 - 11 hours, stirring every few hours.

    For my grandmother I served them as is, and for everyone else I baked and crumbled 4 slices of bacon, and tossed them with the beans before serving.

    Have a great day,


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna