For gardeners all over the south, early summer means fresh green beans. Southern cooks have a way of converting even the simplest vegetable into tasty dishes, and the green bean is no exception. Cooked soft and flavored with a bit of bacon, this classic Southern treat is a reminder of Sunday dinner with Grandma. Pair them with a roast or fix them with fried chicken. Southern green beans take more time than the usual quick vegetable dish, but they are worth the wait.
Cut up the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a heavy pan. Remove from the heat when the bacon is cooked through, but before it gets crispy.
Remove the bacon but leave the grease in the pot. Return the pot to the heat. Cook the onion slices in the bacon grease until they are beginning to brown.
Snap or slice the beans into inch-long pieces. Remove the stem ends as they are sometimes woody.
Add the beans, bacon, 1 tsp. salt and four cups of water to the pot with the onions. Bring the contents to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down very low and cover the pot. Allow the contents to simmer for one hour, adding water if needed to keep the beans from sticking.
Stir the contents of the pot to make sure that none of the beans have stuck to the bottom or sides. Taste the beans and add salt and pepper to taste.