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Meatless Mountain Green Beans with Potatoes
“In the southern Appalachian Mountains, green beans were cooked at the back of the stove in a bacon-seasoned broth with new potatoes added in the final part of the long, slow process. The result is a vegetable dish so imbued with meaty flavor that it was regularly served as the main part of an otherwise meatless meal with slaw, fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, raw onion and cornbread. Here the meaty flavor in this vegetarian green bean recipe is created without pork by using smoked Spanish paprika and olive oil. Look for smoked paprika with other spices in well-stocked supermarkets.”
2 pounds green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
4 cups water, or as needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika, mild or sweet, plus more to taste
1½ teaspoons salt
16 baby or new potatoes (about golf ball size), rinsed but not peeled
1Place beans in a large pot or Dutch oven. Pour in enough water to just barely cover the beans. Add oil, paprika and salt; gently stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. (Check the pot occasionally and add water a little bit at a time if the beans are in danger of cooking dry.) Taste the bean broth and stir in additional paprika, if desired, for a "meatier" taste, but do so in small increments; too much can impart a bitter taste.
2Place potatoes on top of the beans and push down into the broth. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes more.