Potluck Green Beans and New Potatoes

A savory side dish with garden-fresh ingredients

A bowl of green beans and potatoes on a set table

Photo: Kelly Marshall

This humble but rich-tasting side dish was a staple at Appalachian basket meetings—a regional tradition that showed off homegrown vegetables—as well as Sunday suppers and holiday meals. Slow-simmered until tender, the green beans and potatoes absorb the flavor of smoked or fatty meat. The taste of the ones from my grandmother’s garden could not be rivaled. She flavored them with salt pork. I use smoked turkey instead, as an alternative. —Crystal Wilkinson, Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts: Stories and Recipes from Five Generations of Black Country Cooks

Read more about Wilkinson’s new book here.

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    • 1½ lb. green beans

    • 1½ lb. small new potatoes (red or white)

    • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

    • 1 smoked turkey leg, wing, or thigh, preferably at room temperature

    • 1 large yellow onion, diced

    • 1 tsp. table salt, plus more as needed

    • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. String, trim, and snap your green beans. Scrub the potatoes well; if some are large, cut them in half. Rinse all the vegetables.

  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the smoked turkey and stir in the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion has softened.


  3. Stir in the green beans, potatoes, and salt, then add just enough water to cover. (Use less water if your beans were frozen; for canned green beans, you may want to add them after the potatoes have cooked for a while.) Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to medium or medium-low so the liquid just simmers. Partially cover and cook, stirring a few times, until about 2 inches of liquid remains and the green beans and potatoes are done to your liking—tender but not mushy. This can take up to 40 minutes.

  4. Remove the smoked turkey and stir in the pepper. Taste and add more salt, if needed.


  5. Serve warm.


  6. Variation: If your piece of smoked turkey has a good amount of meat on it, you can dice or shred it, then serve it alongside the vegetables.

Reprinted with permission from Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts: Stories and Recipes from Five Generations of Black Country Cooks by Crystal Wilkinson copyright © 2024. Photographs by Kelly Marshall copyright © 2024. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.


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