Sunday Supper at Thanksgiving – Aunt Mary’s Country Style Green Bean Recipe

Aunt Mary's Country Green Beans

Warning: Please don’t read this post if you are looking for a gourmet recipe.  This is one of my family heritage recipes and is as “down home” as you can get. My family has been asking me to post this for years.   I haven’t reinvented, adapted or changed a thing. This is just how my Aunt Mary made her green beans every Thanksgiving (and any other time we convinced her to make them).

Aunt Mary hailed from Southern Indiana.  She grew up raising her own vegetables and canning the produce she grew.  She stocked her freezer with locally sourced meat meat (she personally knew the farmer) and made the most from all of the bounty surrounding her.  Her meals were legendary.  She and my Uncle Jack would have everyone that needed a friend, a family or a meal over to their house for Thanksgiving…including their niece whose parents had died and was living with them (that’s me).  I watched her cook almost every day when I lived there and learned a LOT…including how to make her famous beans.

Aunt Mary's Country Green Beans

Aunt Mary's Country Green Beans

I have been making these for years, and our Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same without them.  Now, please don’t try to change this recipe…I did so many years ago and it just wasn’t the same and actually will taste bland in comparison to the real thing.  I know, many of you will struggle with using canned green beans.  Believe me, I’ve tried fresh and they just don’t work (but of course Aunt Mary always used beans and tomatoes that she had canned herself).  Also, don’t try to shorten the cooking time…the beans need to meld with the flavor of the ham, onion and tomato.  If you’ve ever been down South and had a mess of anything green with anything smoked, you know what I’m talking about.  You just need to put them on the back burner and forget about them for a few hours.   Have your steamed, sauteed or grilled veggies another day…Thanksgiving belongs to Aunt Mary!


Country Style Green Bean Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Green beans rich with smoking goodness.


4 - 14.5 oz. cans of green beans (do not drain liquid)
1 - 13.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (do not drain liquid)
1 - smoked ham or pork shank
1 - large onion, peeled (but not sliced)

Salt and pepper to taste (see note below)


In a large pot, add shank and onion then cover with the beans and diced tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a simmer and cook covered for at least 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove ham and let cool. After ham is cool, shred small pieces of meat from the bone. Add back to the beans and tomatoes and stir.
Serve piping hot.

Please note: If you use beans and tomatoes that contain salt, I personally don't feel that you have to add any to the recipe. You may also add a few fresh grinds of black pepper as well.

Aunt Mary's Country Green Beans



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