Food & Drink

Smothered Country Green Beans

Chef Kevin Callaghan of Carrboro, North Carolina, shares his secret for cooking fresh beans

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

“ The table is 
where all of our 
lives become 
intertwined—our shared history 
of family and 
pleasure”—Kevin Callaghan

When the first ingredient in a recipe is half a cup 
of bacon fat, you know you’re in the South. “My grandmother’s 
banged-up bacon fat can was always on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator, right by the opened jars of jams and pickles,” Callaghan says. And her green beans, enriched with that fat, were always on his family’s Thanksgiving table. “We had the beans, Senator Russell’s Sweet Potato Casserole, turkey, stuffing, and sliced canned cranberry sauce. Other newfangled things would make appearances, but the big five were always there.” Today the chef serves the green beans in his restaurant during the holiday, often getting help from his daughters in snapping the fresh beans. “Sometimes during other seasons, I forget how good fresh green beans cooked to hell and back can taste,” he says. “They are also good cold the next day, with a giant turkey sandwich. Now I’m hungry.”


    • ½ cup bacon fat

    • 2 cups thinly sliced 
shallots or sweet onions

    • 3 lbs. fresh green beans, strings removed, snapped into 1½-inch pieces and well rinsed

    • 1 qt. chicken stock

    • Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over moderate heat, heat bacon fat until shimmery. Add shallots or onions, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until almost translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add beans and stock, making sure that stock covers beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans until the stock is almost gone, about two hours. Add salt and lots of fresh
black pepper.

Recipe from chef Kevin Callaghan of Acme Food & Beverage Co. in Carrboro, North Carolina