It's no secret that I'm a born-and-bred Southerner. My whole family (both sides) hails from North Florida, and I'm from a long line of that very rare species known as the "Native Floridian" (people who were actually born here versus transplanted from elsewhere). I realize a lot of folks don't consider Florida to be part of the cultural South, but as I've noted elsewhere, the northern part of the state is more akin, culturally speaking, to southern Georgia. Thus, the food I grew up eating is significantly more traditionally Southern than the sort-of Caribbean style fare people tend to envision when they think of our beautiful peninsula.
With that preface, let me tell you about Southern vegetables. They tend to be starchy, heavily pork-flavored, and mushy. Pork-flavored I can handle, but between my keto lifestyle and my husband's aversion to all things mush, the other two qualities typical to southern veg are right out. That doesn't mean you can't get the big flavor we are known for. It just takes a little bit of tweaking and tasting to find that sweet spot which suits us.
Luckily, green beans is a southern staple that not only fits right into a keto protocol as is, it's also pretty easy to alter the standard recipes for our lifestyle. It's all a matter of watching portions of the carbier flavorings, like onions and garlic, and leaving out the sugar that many people tend to add to their pot liquor.
In this concoction, I kept all the flavor staples: green beans simmered long and slow in stock, and seasoned with salt pork, garlic, and onion. The key to getting great flavor from your pot liquor (that's the fancy name for the stock concoction you cook it in) is to add your onions to caramelize alongside the chopped salt pork (and to soak up all those pork juices), so as to get the desired depth and big flavor out of a substantially reduced quantity. I personally tend to leave out the red pepper flakes that are traditionally added to the pot. My kids don't appreciate the heat, but if you don't mind a little bite, feel free to keep them in yours.
Notes: Be sure to start tasting the beans regularly at the one hour mark. For my husband's tastes, I tend to pull them off the heat shortly thereafter, so as to preserve a good deal of their bite and avoid the mush, but you will want to make sure your seasonings are to your own taste and, of course, gauge the level of acceptable softness.
- Serves: 10 servings
- Serving size: 1/10 recipe
- Calories: 108.3
- Fat: 8.2 g
- Total Carbohydrate: 6.5 g
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 3.7 g
- 2.5 oz salt pork, cubed or finely diced, as desired
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ oz yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 lb (32 oz) green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
- 4 c chicken broth
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- red pepper flakes, if desired
- Heat a large pot over medium. Once it is hot, add the salt pork and the onions to begin sweating. While they're sweating, smash the garlic clove with the flat end of a chef's knife, remove the skin, finely mince, and set aside.
- Continue cooking the onions and salt pork until both begin to brown.
- Add the butter to melt. Once melted, add the garlic to the pot and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Toss the beans into the pot and give them a few good stirs to incorporate them into the mixture. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
- Pour the broth into the pot and give it a good stir, turn heat to high, and bring to the boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down to medium low and put a lid on the pot.
- Cook, covered, at a simmer for an hour. After an hour has passed, taste the beans to make sure the seasoning is to your liking. Add additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes if desired.
- Return the lid to the pot and taste again in five minute increments. When the beans are very tender but not mushy, they are done. May take up to an hour-and-a-half.