Back in the day, folks could tell you the difference between snap beans, green beans and string beans. While they all were shaped similar and had much the same flavor, strings beans had a tough string running along the edges of the pod and folks had to pull this apart or "string the beans". Some beans actually made a "snapped" sound when broken into thus they were called snap beans. The green beans were the truer "French" bean, the crème de la crème of beans but they neither had strings nor made a loud sound. Think bean gentility.
Snap beans, green beans or string beans . . . no matter which name you prefer, they are one and the same and they are in season right now. You see, back in the day, folks didn't have a choice. They believed what they were told, and experienced. Yes, many years ago green beans had strings but today, the string has pretty much genetically been bred out and thanks to science coming up with newer varieties, we do not have to chew on that. And thank goodness too beans still snap, at least fresh ones do. If they do not, if a green bean is not turgid and it makes no sound at the market, it is not fresh enough for you to take home to eat, at least, in my opinion.
But for old times sake, some days I still call green beans snap beans and sometimes like today, string beans. It's what keeps the memories alive, don't you know. Enjoy!
Fresh String Beans with Mushrooms
1 slice thick-cut hickory smoked bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces button or sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh string (green) beans
1/2 sweet onion (vidalia), large chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup rich chicken stock
Wash the green beans and snap in about 2-inch lenghts pulling any strings away if needed. (Couldn't resist.)
In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium heat until brown. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and save for another use. Or, you can sprinkle it on top at serving if you wish but here, all we need today is the renderings. Increase heat to medium high and add mushrooms. Saute until brown on both sides. Remove to plate; set aside.
Add butter and when melted add the green beans and toss until all are coated well. Add onion, thyme, salt, pepper and toss occasionally cooking for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, reduce heat, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook until beans are crisp tender, about 2 minutes.
Remove beans with slotted spoon to a casserole with lid to hold or right to a serving bowl.