Kentucky Wonder (Old Homestead)
68 Days — A green pole bean with long, fleshy and stringless pods when young and tender.
66 Days — An old Southern favorite introduced in 1912 by the McCaslan family of Georgia. Its pods are up to eight inches long and used as snap (green or string) beans or shelled. The seeds are plump and white.
68 Days (100 to dry stage) — From Mark Chappel whose family in Kentucky, on his mother's side, have handed down these beans since before the civil war. They simply called them "Stick Beans" as tobacco sticks were used as support for the heavy vines to climb on. The stick beans are a favorite and they have a real "beany", almost meaty flavor.
Beans taste best when eaten fresh, but they will keep for a week to 10 days if you store them in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of a refrigerator.
3 pounds fresh green beans
1/4 pound salt pork and bacon (some folks like smoked turkey neck bones or ham hocks)
2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 to 3 teaspoons Kitchen Seasoning (mixture of salt, pepper and garlic)
12 small red potatoes
1 onion -cut into slivers
1/2 stick margarine
Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves -optional
1 tablespoon cider (or red wine) vinegar
Trim the ends from the beans and cut in half. Soak in a large pan full of cold water for an hour and then place into a colander. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, cook the bacon over medium heat the turning often until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leave the bacon renderings in the pot. Add the green beans and stir with a wooden spoon to coat well with the grease. Add the broth and Kitchen Seasoning. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for approximately 15 minutes.
Remove a center strip from each new potato with a sharp knife while the beans are cooking. At the end of the 15 minutes, add the potatoes and onion to the beans, add a little more broth if needed along with the margarine, pepper to taste and thyme. Covered tightly and cook another 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Check often to make sure a small amount of liquid remains.
When the potatoes are tender, ajar the lid slightly to the side of the pot, add the vinegar and continue to cook until the beans wilt slightly about 15 minutes more. Serve with the bacon sprinkled on top.
Notes: Kitchen Seasoning is mandatory in our family, a mason jar filled with pepper, garlic powder and a little salt.
For folks preferring to omit the salt pork and bacon grease, it’s okay, just add a little oil of your choice, butter or margarine. I was taught back in my youth that the beans should be coated in grease and it's been good enough all these years.