Fresh green beans, plentiful at this time of year, are always a conundrum. Steamed or blanched so they remain green and crisp, served with a squeeze of lemon and dollop of butter? Or Southern-style — soft, army green and flavored with pork and onion?
You can’t go wrong either way.
Below is a Southern-style recipe from the newly released “Cook’s Country Eats Local” (ATK, 310 pages, $26.95), which showcases favorites across the map.
Unlike a traditional Southern recipe, which would simmer the beans for four hours or longer, this formula is ready in just about an hour.
SOUTHERN-STYLE GREEN BEANS
Makes 6 to 8 servings
5 slices bacon
1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
3 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
Cook 2 slices of bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate, leaving fat in pot. Add onion to empty pot and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add green beans, water, 2 teaspoons of salt, sugar and remaining 3 slices bacon; and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low; and simmer, stirring occasionally, until green beans are very tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove lid and discard bacon. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Stir carefully to avoid breaking apart beans.) Transfer beans to a serving bowl. Crumble reserved bacon over top before serving.
PER SERVING (based on 8): 135 calories, 6 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 7 g fat (2 g saturated), 12 mg cholesterol, 710 mg sodium

Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at labraham@dispatch.com or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.