In the South, the traditional method of cooking green beans required a ham hock and hours of boiling the poor beautiful beans to a mush. While that method of cooking beans is sure to bring back memories of your grammy’s kitchen, this recipe will take the best of those beautiful fresh beans, infuse them with that pork flavor, and add a few new twists.
In addition to the pork flavor, these beans are just barely cooked so they retain a fresh garden crispness. Then, toasted walnuts are added and the pièce de résistance – crumbled Roquefort cheese. They take just minutes to prepare and they are simply delicious. And beautiful. And yummy. And, oh…just make them! You’ll see for yourself!
I started making these green beans for the holidays maybe five or six years ago; I found the recipe in Southern Living and adored them. While they require last-minute cooking, one really nice thing about them is they can be prepared in stages and can pretty much be made ahead. If you are making them à la minute, they are ready in a jiffy!
The process is to prepare the beans by trimming the ends and snapping them in half. Then, they are blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes, dunked in an ice water bath to halt the cooking (at this point, you can refrigerate the beans to finish another day), and held aside . Then, you crisp 4 slices of bacon (diced) in a skillet, remove the crisped bacon and reserve a tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet.
The beans are then added back to the bacon fat and sauteed until heated through; the toasted walnuts, salt and pepper are added, half of the crumbled Roquefort is added for a few seconds, toss it into a bowl, add the remaining crumbled Roquefort and crisped bacon bits. Done!
I’ll say this…you can use any old Bleu cheese. But, splurge for these beans. Buy a really fabulous Roquefort cheese. It’s worth it.
Can it be any more simple? Beautiful green beans…in minutes! Make them.
- 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed and broken in half
- 4 thick bacon slices, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium sized sauce pan, bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Add the green beans and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Drain the beans in a colander and plunge immediately into a bowl filled with ice water.
- Set aside.*
- In a medium-sized skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until crisp.
- Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Reserve one tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet.
- Add the green beans to the skillet with the bacon fat and sauté two minutes or until heated.
- Sprinkle with ½ of the Roquefort cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds or just until cheese begins to melt.
- Sprinkle evenly with walnuts, salt, pepper, bacon, and remaining Roquefort cheese; serve immediately.