Hands down, this dish = Thanksgiving at Nana’s house. Specifically, Thanksgiving with my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all gathered around her elegant dining room table beautified with a multitude of homemade dishes in her modest ranch house in small town Wisconsin. It truly was, each and every time, a family feast filled with love, happy memories, and food cooked from the heart.
Nine times out of ten, Nana’s Green Beans made an appearance at the table. As a kid, this dish might as well have been called Nana’s Bacon, because those bacon bits, which I meticulously picked out and ate one-by-one, were all I cared about. What I left on the plate were these wonderfully tangy, seasoned green beans flavored with a bit of sweetness and plenty of savory goodness from the bacon fat.
Good thing I nabbed the recipe from my mom so I can make this over and over again and savor the yummy beans I missed out on as a kid. Another reason to make this a recurring recipe…it’s so darn easy to make. Case in point, Step 1 of the original recipe card reads “Beans, Water, Salt.” Take from that what you can, but the entire recipe is a bit Haiku-ish. Don’t worry, I’ve expanded upon the keywords in my recipe rendition below. Seriously though, I wish all recipes were this easy!
When I sat down to take a bite of this dish, I was immediately transported back to her dining room table 20 years ago. It’s amazing how just one bite of food can evoke so much emotion and nostalgia. Nana, this post is for you. Thanks for hosting so many wonderful family feasts over the years. Thanksgiving has never been the same!
- 2 pounds green beans
- 6 pieces of bacon
- ½ tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon water
- ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper
- Add water and a healthy sprinkle of salt to a large pot and bring to a boil on the stove. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans. Boil the beans for 2-3 minutes until they’re slightly softened, but still have a crunch. The beans should also be bright green in color. Add the beans to a large bowl or pot of ice water. The ice bath shocks the beans, preventing them from cooking any further, and helps them retain their pretty green color.
- While the beans are bathing in the ice, fry the bacon until crispy in a large sauté pan. Drain the cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towel and then chop into bits. Leave some of the bacon grease in the pan and turn the heat to medium.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until fully incorporated. Add the cornstarch mixture, apple cider vinegar, and honey to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium high heat and stir the mixture until it thickens a bit.
- Turn the heat to low and add in the beans and bacon. Toss the beans and bacon bits in the sauce to coat and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the beans are heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.