Southern Style Cooked Down Green Beans from a Microwave

My grandmother used to spend all day making green beans. First she picked them. Then she capped, stringed and broke them. If I happened by, I got stuck helping with the breaking and the stringing. Then she spent all afternoon cooking her green beans.

She cooked them down until there was no water left in the pot. They were done when they were dark green and a little shriveled. If she was lucky enough to have a little piece of jowl bacon, that was cooked with the green beans. Her green beans weren't a side dish. They often served as the main course along with other vegetables from the garden for a summer meal.

In the winter she used her home canned or frozen ones and cooked them the same way.

I tried to duplicate her efforts and failed more times than I care to admit. I either burnt them or they disintegrated in sheds.

I haven't picked a green bean for 20 years and I am much too lazy to string and break them. After much trial and error I have managed to almost duplicate her green beans, using canned beans, in about 30 minutes of kitchen time using a microwave.

Remember they cook down so this recipe is not as large as it sounds. I recommend that you use a glass pie plate for the cooking. The shallow sides and round shape seem to provide the best dish to use.
3 15oz cans of green beans, drained and well rinsed
1 rounded TBS of bacon juice* (fat)
1/4 TSP white sugar**
Salt and black pepper to taste

My wife likes a little onion in hers so an option is to add about a 1/4 cup of dehydrated dry onions to the beans before the first cooking.

Place the bacon juice in the pie plate and heat on high for 1-2 minutes until melted. Then add the sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well, add the green beans and mix well. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 minutes. Remove stir well and cook for an additional 10 minutes on high.

You will now have the closest thing to "cooked down" green beans you are ever going to find.

*Bacon juice is saved fat from cooking bacon. Drained and bagged in zip-lock bags in will keep for up to 1 year in the fridge.

**The pinch of sugar helps to remove the canned flavor.

This recipe feeds 4-5 hungry people. Now that there is just 2 of us, I usually only do one can with a reduction in cooking time. Do keep in mind that microwaves vary.

This article in a modified form was originally published by me in 2006 on the quick-cooks.com website which I owned at the time. If there is a site with that name now, I have no affiliation with it.


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