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+++Enter At Your Own Risk+++ At the gentle nudging (I said gentle y'all) of a few friends, I have started these blogs in order to share my culinary goings-on and daily misadventures through my own brand of humor (ok, sarcasm). I just write about stuff! At 50, I have learned that living has gotten in the way of life - and I am going to blaze my own personal trail to fun (hopefully)! If it is feminine, great. If it is not, so much the better! Hopefully fun that does not land me in jail............

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pennsylvania Dutch Green Beans

This recipe falls into the Comfort Food category for me!

It is my understanding that this “Sweet and Sour” dish is an old recipe.  I have no idea about that and found no real information outlining that lineage.  I just know that I LUV it!

The story behind my receiving this recipe is vaguely funny.  I was introduced to this recipe by my one time fiancé’s OTHER fiancé.  Yes, a fellow I was once engaged to had at least 2 women he was engaged to at one time, simultaneously. The day she and I learned of one another was the day HE lost 240 pounds instantaneously.  She and I became friends and he was no longer engaged to anyone.  OK, so we thought.  Turns out he married a whole third lady four months later!  So much for 7 years of life!  I am not advocating gaining recipes this way, but this was a delish nom to come from such a nightmare!

Now, on to the recipe!

I suggest you read the whole recipe before you do your grocery shopping for it.

  • 3 slices bacon *  (can be cooked ahead and crumbled as you see fit)
  • 2-3 teaspoons cornstarch **
  • 1 small onion, diced *
  • ¼ teaspoon salt **
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard **
  • 2 heaping cups cooked or canned green beans ***
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar **
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar **
  • ½ cup bean water **

Optional: 1 hard-boiled egg, diced (can be cooked well ahead)

*These items can be adjusted for taste.  I LUV MORE bacon, like triple the bacon.  Let’s just say OINK!

** These items can and should be adjusted to taste.  I double these so I have more of the “saucy” part.  Plus, you may like it sweeter, tangier, or etc.

*** I use canned French Cut Green Beans.  I feel like more of the sauce flavor hitches a ride on those thin slices than on regularly cut beans.  More exposed surface to hold all that saucy goodness!  Just a preference, do it as you wish!  If you use fresh or frozen beans instead of canned green beans, cook in lightly salted water until tender.  I typically make large cans of beans because I can eat ONE can, by myself, in one sitting on a serious OINK day.  Yes, like I said, COMFORT FOOD.  I can happily eat this dish for a couple of days.

I have never actually garnished/finished off this dish with the egg.  I have no idea if it adds to the flavor, or just to the prep-time.  But, just in case you want good instructions on boiling eggs, I am posting my way of boiling them in the next entry.

As I researched various recipes for this dish, I found they typically say to cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain, cool, crumble, and set aside.  I personally only cook the bacon until ALMOST crisp.  I like the chewy firm option.

Yea, go ahead, laugh…

I find really crispy bacon, while it crumbles nicely, stays too hard and can hurt the teeth when you bite into it.  I also keep more of the bacon grease to add to the dish since I have doubled the liquids and spices.  AND, let’s face it, I am from The South, so I obviously have a love affair with it.  I want lots of flavor.  Flavor rides on fat.

Don’t talk to me about healthy.  This recipe contains beans.  I call that “healthy enough”.

With 1 tablespoon (yea, right) of the bacon grease, sauté the diced onion pieces until just tender.

Drop in the bacon pieces.

Add the mustard and brown sugar and mix into the onion and bacon.

Drain the cooked or canned bean water into another container.  Reserve at least a ½ cup of the bean water to whisk in the cornstarch to avoid lumps. 

Pour at least 1 cup of bean water into the onion mixture and heat a a few minutes.  Yes, a 'few'. You will get a feel for this.

Stir the cornstarch combination in with the onion mixture.

While the cornstarch mixture heats, I add the beans, but you can wait until the liquid has thickened if you want. Cook, stirring constantly, until the concoction comes to a low boil and the liquid thickens a bit.  Approximately 3+- minutes.

Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle the top with the chopped egg and other crumbled cooked bacon if you wish.


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