Green Beans with Tomatoes and Bacon

If you had told me a week ago that I would cook a batch of fresh green beans for an entire hour and not only would they not be overcooked, but they would be perfectly cooked, I would have given you a quizzical look that said, “really?”

But here we are, and I couldn’t be more pleased to share this recipe with you from my friend Ree Drummond’s new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.Fresh green beans are slowly cooked with bacon, onions, and tomatoes, until just done, which takes about an hour, more or less. Ree says this is one of her family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes and I can see why! They’re absolutely delicious, and super easy to make.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ree, she’s the wonderful woman behind the popular blog and Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman. Ree has several best selling books, including cookbooks, a memoir, and children’s books. Her latest book, A Year of Holidays, starts off with New Year’s Day with recipes for black-eyed peas, and traverses the entire year of holidays, including recipes for Valentines, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, all with vibrant, beautiful photos. It’s a perfect book for special occasion meal planning throughout the year. Way to go Ree!

Green Beans with Bacon and Tomatoes

  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ree's original recipe does not include the garlic or thyme. We added them because, why not? Tastes good. Also we halved the recipe, because for everyday meals we don't need to serve 10 to 12. Feel free to double to Ree's original Thanksgiving-worthy proportions.

This recipe also works well in the slow cooker, so I've added instructions for that as well.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pounds of fresh, firm green beans (they should break when you bend them, not bend like a rubber band), stem ends trimmed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

Method

1 Place the bacon pieces on the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot. Heat on medium heat for several minutes until the bacon fat begins to render.

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2 Add the chopped onions to the bacon. Cook a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic (if using) and cook a minute more. Drain off any excess fat.

3 Add the green beans to the pot. Add the whole, peeled, canned tomatoes and their juices. Add a sprig of thyme to the pot (if using). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

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4 Cover the pot and lower the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beans are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

Slow Cooker Instructions If you want to use a slow cooker for step 4, you can easily do so. Just put the cooked bacon and onions from steps 1 and 2, and the beans, tomatoes and spices into a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, depending on your slow cooker, until the beans are completely tender and the tomatoes have broken down.

Serve!

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