Green beans…. like you’ve never had them before! Green beans are sautéed in a garlicky bacon fat then semi-braised-semi-steamed in stock before being simmered with a creamy garlic sauce. Decadent? Yes. Special? Double yes.
Handy stove cooked side dish – no need to juggle oven space for Sunday night roast dinners and holiday feasts!
A very special Green Bean recipe!
This is not your usual “light and fresh” green bean side dish that you’ll pull out night after night. It is unapologetically indulgent and that’s exactly what this is intended to be – a special side dish for all those times when you want something that’s a cut above the usual quick ‘n easy vegetable sides that we make for quick midweek meals.
You know it’s going to be a winner when I tell you it starts with THIS ……↓↓↓
Yep, THAT is what we cook the green beans in – all those tasty bacon drippings. Flavour flavour flavour!!!
What goes in Green Beans in Creamy Sauce
Think Alfredo pasta – but with beans instead of spaghetti!
- Fresh green beans – because, well, this is a green beans recipe! Having said that, this recipe will be terrific with carrots (cut into batons) or asparagus;
- Bacon – massive flavour boost here, not only used for sprinkling the finished dish but also to saute the green beans in the drippings instead of using butter or oil;
- Garlic – because it appears in virtually every single savoury dish I make!
- Chicken or vegetable stock/broth – the idea here is to use a bit of liquid to sort-of-steam-sort-of-braise the beans in the skillet. This way, we can get a double flavour wack – sautéing in bacon drippings first, then braising in stock so it absorbs the flavour. Oh wait – THEN it’s simmered in the parmesan cream sauce, so it’s a triple flavour dose!
- Cream – the base of the creamy sauce. But don’t worry, I have some lower fat alternatives in the recipe for you!
- Parmesan – not only adds flavour into the sauce but also thickens it. If you don’t have parmesan, add small dab of mustard will provide a similar thickening effect.
How to make Green Beans in Creamy Sauce
And here’s how to make it:
- Trim and chop the green beans;
- Cook the bacon bits first so they release all that tasty fat;
- Cook garlic until golden then stir in the green beans to coat it in all that flavour;
- Add chicken stock/broth then cover with a lid. It’s only a bit of liquid – enough to add a bit of extra flavour to the beans and to create a steamy environment to cook the beans, but little enough so by the time the beans are cooked, there is not much liquid left (otherwise it would make our sauce too watery);
- Add cream and parmesan, then simmer for a minute or two to thicken;
- Garnish with bacon and a little extra parmesan if you want. And why wouldn’t you, we’re going all out anyway!
What and how to serve these green beans
It’s intended as a side dish that’s a little bit fancy. Something that will take a roast chicken and turn it into a special Sunday night dinner. (Or try this one or this one or even this slow cooker one!).
A vegetable side that’s worthy of a place at a holiday occasion – think Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and everything in between.
Having said that though, this is rich enough, interesting enough and flavour loaded enough to be worthy of serving as a
meat free main. Serve it over pasta, rice, cauliflower rice (for low carb), mash, cauliflower mash, quinoa or other starchy vehicle of choice. Or just some bread for mopping. YUM. – Nagi x
PS For those who noted the crossed out “meat free” – if you really want/need to make it meat free: skip the bacon, use butter and proceed with recipe. Then finish with a sprinkle of pangrattato (that’s fancy Italian speak for croutons) or store bought crispy fried shallots (the Asian kind) or, in a nod to good ole’ Green Bean Casserole, a scattering of hot crispy fried onions (homemade or store bought).
Watch how to make it
Green Beans in Creamy Parmesan Sauce – with bacon!
- 150g/ 5oz bacon , chopped (use streaky, not lean)
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 500g/1lb green beans , trimmed, cut into ~5cm / 2″ pieces
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock / broth , low sodium
- 1 cup cream , heavy/thickened (Note 1)
- 1/2 cup parmesan , finely grated (best to grate your own)
- Black pepper , freshly ground
Place bacon in cold skillet, then turn the stove on high. (Note 2)
Cook bacon for 2 to 3 minutes until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon.
Discard excess bacon fat, leaving behind 1 1/2 tablespoons (or so). If you’re short, add a dab of butter (or olive oil).
Add garlic and stir for 10 – 15 seconds until light golden.
Add green beans and stir to coat in garlicky bacon fat.
Add chicken stock, stir, bring to simmer then cover with lid. (Note 3) Cook 3 minutes, stirring every now and then so it cooks evenly, until beans are tender-crisp, still bright green and almost cooked to your liking (it will cook more). There should be some liquid left (if not, that’s ok too)
Add cream, parmesan and pepper. Stir, bring to simmer then lower heat to medium low and let it gently simmer for 2 minutes until the cream reduces and becomes thicker. If you want it to stick to the beans thickly when warm, then reduce the sauce for another 1 minute until the sauce is quite thick. (Note 4)
Taste and add salt if needed (I don’t find it needs more).
Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle with cooked bacon and extra parmesan if you like.
2. Bacon into cold pan – bacon fat renders out better (ie melts) if you start with a cold pan because the fat starts to melt as the skillet heats up. This means you don’t need any extra fat to cook the bacon. In contrast, if you use a preheated skillet, you will need a bit of fat so the bacon doesn’t stick when you first add it (bacon fat does get released, it just works better starting with cold pan).
3. Pan lid – pictured lid in video isn’t made for the skillet used. Just use any lid around the size of the skillet, doesn’t matter if some steam escapes. More suggestions: baking tray, foil.
4. Sauce thickness – it gets thicker once it cools a bit. I like the sauce to be syrupy so it doesn’t stick to the beans thickly which I find a bit too rich for my taste. But if you want the sauce to coat the beans thoroughly, just simmer the cream sauce for another 1 – 2 minutes. You can make it so thick that the beans are literally completely covered in the sauce.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings and no bacon fat is discarded. If you use turkey bacon and low fat cream, it reduces to 232 calories per serving.
Life of Dozer
Harnessed up, ready to go! He comes everywhere with me.
PS The harness he’s wearing is a brand called Sleepy Pod which I got for him a few years back after (alarmingly) discovering that the one I was using that was sold as “crash tested” but was NOT certified (ie it didn’t pass the crash test!!). Hence furious (and immediate) researching to find a harness that passed a crash test which led me to Sleepy Pod harnesses. Pricey, but worth it, especially with a large 40kg/80lb dog like Dozer (for the both his safety and those in other cars).
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