Rural western New York State where I grew up, is home to large colonies of Mennonites and Old Order Amish. Most are farmers who work up hearty appetites doing the manual labor required using horses to plow their fields. The farm wives are well known for cooking and serving the traditional “seven sweets and seven sours” for their main meal at lunchtime. This recipe is one my mother served often using green beans from dad’s garden. The recipe comes from an old Mennonite cookbook published in 1957 that belonged to my mother who passed it on to me. I have prepared these beans too many times to count and they remain one of my favorite ways to prepare green beans. Both tangy and sweet, the combination of green beans, onion and bacon can’t be beat. This will make four ½ cup servings and is easily doubled. Just a few simple ingredients will give you a delicious side that goes perfectly well with an Easter ham, lamb, turkey or heck, even meatloaf! This will make four 1/2 cup servings. This recipe easily doubles and if you love green beans then a double recipe will serve six 😉
Here’s what we’ll need.
Mennonite Sweet and Sour Green Beans
- Place green beans in a saucepan with the 1/2 cup of salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for about seven minutes until barely tender. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
- Cook bacon in a 10 inch skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 TBSP of drippings.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook until tender but not brown.
- Stir in the flour until smooth; then stir in the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Bring this to a boil and stir for one minute, then stir in the green beans.
- Cook just until the beans are heated through, then remove from the heat and sprinkle the bacon over the top.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Emma Showalter's Community Mennonite Cookbook.