Don’s Italian grandmother was a heart of gold with a passion for cooking and gardening. Growing up in hard times it was easy to see why the older generation never took for granted the ability to grow food, which the younger generation today refers to it as a hobby. Grandma Laura had an abundant variety growing in her garden and planted a garden every spring. It was large enough to ensure a healthy harvest for the summer and plenty of canned goods for the winter.
She grew the basic garden variety: lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries, peas and beans. Because of her Italian heritage there was an endless supply of canned tomatoes and sauces. But the one dish that brings the most memories was a dish she made with her garden green beans. This green bean dish is still a request at meals from my own children simply called Great Grandma’s Bean Dish. The recipe is simple and I do believe the key ingredient needs to be FRESH, picked-from-the-garden green beans! Maybe the olive oil plays a part, but the garden-fresh beans are a delight. Add in onions, celery, and of course chopped garlic, and you have a gardener’s delicacy.
To accommodate his grandmother’s ailing health and loss of mobility Don designed an elevated self-watering garden to help her garden through her later years. This made sure that the bean dish remained a staple on the dinner table. It just wouldn’t be grandmother’s recipe without the fresh garden beans. I remember the day he built her that garden and the look on her face, as well as the smile that never ended.
Please enjoy Grandma Laura’s Green Bean dish!
Grandma Laura’s Green Beans
4 cups fresh green beans or yellow wax beans
2 celery ribs chopped – approx. 2/3 cup
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
Over medium/high heat in a large dutch oven pan put in olive oil, add beans, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and butter- stir to mix. Add chicken broth, stir and cover with lid. Keep heat at medium/high until broth starts to bubble (5 to 7 minutes). Reduce heat to medium. Stir every five minutes, cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking until broth is mostly absorbed – approx. 25 to 30 minutes.