Old-fashioned Southern Green Beans
I feel compelled to include one of the primary southern dishes of my
childhood. There are many philosophies about the salt pork. Some cooks
will only use ham hocks or the bone from a country-cured ham instead of
salt pork. Some cook the slat pork in the beans, some render the salt
pork first and use only the fat, discarding the pork. Some add the
fried salt pork at the end. I like to cook the two together. Serve this
simple cooking recipes with fried chicken, roast turkey, ham or pork
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 pounds good-size green beans, topped, tailed, and strung
1/4 pound salt pork, thickly sliced; or
streak-of-lean (see note); or 1 smoked ham hock or ham bone
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the beans in a large heavy kettle. Add the salt pork. Pour in
enough water to cover the beans and add the crushed red pepper (if
using) salt, and pepper.
Simmer very gently over low heat until the beans are very tender, about
2 hours. If using a ham hock or bone, remove it and take the meat off
the bone. Stir the meat into the beans. Serve very hot. Add a slice of
salt pork to each serving if desired.
Streak-of-lean is salt pork with a large
strip of meat in the middle rather than what we call fat back, which is
salt pork with no marbled meat in it.