This is my Grandma Smith’s recipe for Country Green Beans. Our summer table was not complete without green beans as they were harvested fresh, bright green, and crisp. We often had them with barbecued chicken or pork chops. Sometimes, we’d have them for dinner as the main course, served with fresh corn on the cob, and crusty bread.
In fact, the pressure cooker I use is Grandma’s, too. I’ve had it for 35 years, and it’s in perfect operating condition. I’ve replaced the rubber gasket on the inside of the cover and the safety gauge on the top of the lid. They’re about the only parts that wear out.
Pressure cooking is the only way I make fresh green beans. The texture and flavor are out of this world. And you end up with a bounty of tasty pot liquor, too. What you don’t sop up with a piece of bread, be sure to freeze to add to vegetable soup, minestrone, or in any recipe where you would use vegetable stock. It would also be good to add to drippings when you’re making gravy. Get out your Mom’s or Grandmom’s old pressure cooker and give it a whirl! Please read “A Word About Using a Pressure Cooker” at the bottom of this post.
First, rinse and snap the ends off of 2 pounds of fresh green beans. I leave them whole, but there’s nothing wrong with cutting them in half. I wouldn’t make them smaller than that.
Dice a medium onion. Cut 4 pieces of bacon into strips. Cut 2 medium fresh tomatoes into eighths.
Heat the pressure cooker to medium heat, without the lid, and brown the bacon until brown and crispy. I brown the bacon pretty good, because it will cook with the liquid from the vegetables, re-hydrate, and soften up a bit.
Drain the beautiful, crispy bacon bits on a paper towel. Set aside. You’re going to have bacon grease in the bottom of the cooker. Use as much or as little as you want. Sometimes I pour out all the grease. Sometimes I leave it all there. Leave the delicious brown bits, though, for extra flavor.
Add the diced onion. Saute over medium heat until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.
Layer one-half of the green beans on top of the cooked onions.
Cut 4 medium red potatoes in quarters. You could also use any kind of small red or Yukon gold potatoes – you don’t need to cut them up. Layer them on top of the green beans.
Another layer of green beans.
Top with quartered tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour in about 1/3 cup of chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water.
Put the lid on the pressure cooker, and lock the lid in place. Keep the heat to medium.
Once steam begins to stream out the vent pipe, put the pressure regulator on top of the vent pipe. (The pressure regulator will maintain a steady pressure with the right amount of heat.) Once adequate pressure builds up inside the pot, the automatic air vent will pop up and seal. (The automatic air vent is the black plastic thing on the side of the lid.) Keep the heat to medium until the pressure regulator measures 10 pounds – that’s the second red ring on mine – do you see it peeking out of the top of the pressure regulator? Now turn down the heat to medium low. Make sure that the pressure regulator stays at 10 pounds. If the regulator rises, turn down the heat. If the regulator goes below 10 pounds, turn the heat up a bit. Please read “A Word About Using a Pressure Cooker” below.
Cook the green beans for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat or remove the pressure cooker from the burner, and allow all the steam to escape. Place your Country Green Beans into a bowl and serve.
- 2 pounds fresh green beans
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 medium red or other waxy potato, cut into quarters
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
- 4 strips of bacon, cut into ½ inch strips
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
- Rinse the green beans. Snap off both ends and leave whole or cut in half.
- Brown bacon strips in a pressure cooker until browned and crispy. Remove bacon bits to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside. Drain off bacon grease, but leave about 1-2 Tablespoons for the onions.
- Add chopped onion to the pot. Cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until onions are translucent and beginning to brown.
- Layer ½ of the green beans on top of the cooked onions.
- Layer all of the potatoes.
- Layer remaining ½ of the green beans.
- Layer the tomatoes. Sprinkle with bacon bits. Add salt, pepper, and chicken stock.
- Put the lid on the pressure cooker. Lock the lid. Maintain medium heat, until steam begins to vent from the top of the lid. Place the pressure regulator. Bring the pressure cooker to 10 pounds of pressure. Reduce heat to medium-low or temperature to maintain 10 pounds pressure.
- Cook for 12 minutes.
- Turn off the heat or remove the intact pressure cooker from the burner. Wait until all the pressure is released from the cooker. This might take 10-15 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
- Pour the beans into a bowl and serve.
A Word About Using a Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers cook ingredients at lower temperatures under pressure. Foods cook quicker, retain more nutrients, and meats tenderize. Once you’ve learned to use one safely, a pressure cooker is a valuable tool. But, once you have the lid locked in place, do not remove it until the cooking is finished and the all the pressure has released from the pot. Do not remove the lid as soon you turn off the heat or remove the pot from the burner. Wait for the pot to cool down, and for the steam to stop venting. Newer pressure cookers have release valves, so you can release the steam and pressure, and open the pot sooner, but don’t try that on one as old as my Grandma’s. (My mother did once, and the whole thing exploded hot boiling food all over the kitchen, sending her to the hospital with second degree burns.) You shouldn’t be afraid to use one, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.