Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 8: MBH's Green Beans

Made the last stop at the World's Worst Grocery Store (W^2) tonight to pick up the green beans and fresh thyme for Thanksgiving. I wanted to do this last night but after work I drove by the W^2 and the parking lot was full with people waiting to find parking spots. So, tonight after a 2.5 hour commute home (normal commute is 1 hour) I was forced to stop or the green beans wouldn't have enough time to be perfect for Thanksgiving. MBH only requires two things for Thanksgiving: turkey and green beans made with his family recipe. The "recipe", such that it is, calls for the green beans to be prepared at least one day before you eat them. They are best though two to three days after you first fix them. I'll fix them tomorrow to serve with pork chops and then reheat them on Thanksgiving.

MBH tells the story of how when he moved to Colorado Springs, where he lived before moving to Boston seven years ago, his dad was afraid he wouldn't be able to find good green beans in Colorado. "Son, I'm going to send you some beans", his dad told him. MBH told him not to because he could find green beans in Colorado. But his dad was sure they wouldn't be the right green beans so he went ahead and sent MBH some anyways. Only problem was, his dad washed them first. When MBH received the package several days later, he opened the box to find a plastic grocery bag full of a black, gooey mess. Every year, his dad still asks MBH if we want him to send us some green beans from "The South" and every Thanksgiving, MBH tells him "No thanks, Pops. I think we'll be ok. BUT if you have your heart set on it, DO NOT WASH THEM!!"

MBH's Family Green Beans
Serves 8 -10 or 2 people for several meals

7-9lbs fresh green string beans
1 lb salt pork with lots of meat
1 cup water
1 large stew pot
1 slow cooker with removable crock

The night before cooking/serving the green beans, remove the stem and tip of the green beans and break in half, removing any strings. Place beans in large stew pot and fill with water until beans just covered, heat until water is just boiling and par-boil beans for 5 minutes. Remove beans from boiling water immediately and rinse in cold water to stop the beans cooking. Put into large slow cooker pot and place into the refrigerator until next morning. In the morning, cut the salt pork into four pieces and place around edge of slow cooker pot. Add one cup of water and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours or until beans very tender and salt pork is thoroughly cooked. Do not stir during the cooking time, just let the flavour of the salt pork develop. Remove the salt pork from the pot and shred the remaining meat clinging to the fat. Discard fat and stir meat shreds back into the green beans. Serve while hot. Beans best 2 or 3 days after first cooking. To reheat beans, turn slow cooker on high for 1-2 hours stirring often.