My German grandmother made them … and my mom made them … and I can’t even remember when I first ate these German Inspired French green beans. Yep, you read that right! They’re multi-cultural! Honestly, I’m not entirely sure if a can of “French Green Beans” is really the long thin variety or our American snap beans cut to look like it. Either way, I always use the French cut style in this recipe. It makes for a creamier texture.
This is my all-time favorite way to eat green beans. Love doesn’t even begin to explain my relationship with these beans. I think it’s the combination of sugar and vinegar … and bacon grease! I like serving these with a thickened sauce … it makes the vinegar and sugar combination stick to the beans better.
This is a pretty common side dish, especially at potlucks! It’s super easy and everyone makes it a little different. I’ve had cold versions of this, usually with other veggies mixed in (corn, pimento, peppers, raw onions). As with any ancestral recipe, ingredients change as food availability changes. I suspect this dish is a remnant of the German Bohnensalat (bean salad) that is made in the same manner, but served slightly warmed. If you look through old community and church cookbooks from the mid-1900s, especially from the Midwestern German settlements, you’ll see many varieties of this same dish.
- 6 slices bacon
- 3 15oz cans French cut green beans, juice reserved
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
- Fry bacon in stock pot until crisp. Remove and crumble.
- Pour drained green beans into stock pot on top of bacon grease and heat through.
- Mix vinegar and sugar and pour into beans, stir until incorporated.
- Make a slurry by mixing 1/4 cup reserved juice from green beans with the cornstarch. Pour into beans, stir until incorporated.
- Bring to a boil to allow liquid to thicken.
- Serve in large serving bowl topped with bacon crumbles
- You can add a small diced onion to the bacon grease to saute before adding the beans. This will give a little more spice to the dish.