Indiana has a bit of an identity crisis on its hands. I’ll be the first to tell you, we certainly aren’t Southern. We might be considered Yankees. We are decidedly Midwest, but really, what does that mean in terms of food? To me, it means that we get to pick-and-choose our food identity. What we are left with is the best of all worlds! I can fit in just as well at a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint just as I can at the Finnish pancake house in my husband’s hometown in Northwestern Ontario. It’s nice to get to pick and choose!
Like, for example, this Southern Style Green Beans and Potatoes is the perfect thing to go along with a summer barbecue—we might not be in “the South,” but we sure do enjoy the heck out of a dish like this. This was a standard growing up in my house, but I normally only ate the potatoes because my deep love for green beans only showed up a few years ago.
The key to the awesome flavor of this dish is using a smoked ham hock or a leftover ham bone. You slow simmer the green beans and potatoes with the ham hock and some chicken broth, and they end up having so much rich, intense flavor. It’s my favorite way to eat green beans! And, like a lot of these slow-cooked dishes, the flavor of this gets better and better as it rests in the fridge. I usually make a big ole batch of this when green beans are coming off in the garden, and reheat as a side dish all week long.
You’ll want to use new potatoes for this dish. Russet potatoes cut into chunks work in a pinch here, but you get really amazing pillowy bites of potato if you use small Yukon gold or small red new potatoes.
If your leftover ham bone or ham hock has a lot of meat on it, you’ll want to remove the ham bone after cooking, chop the extra meat and add it back into the pot. If your ham bone is looking a little skimpy, you might want to pick up a pack of diced ham to add back into the mixture—the little morsels of ham add a ton of great flavor and texture that Southerners and Northerners alike can enjoy!