Cook on a Whim: Dad’s Braised Green Beans

My dad made these often, not just during the holiday season. This is a very Frenchified Southern dish. We can’t help adding wine to braising liquids, and this dish is no exception.

This is our answer to the infamous green bean casserole, something I did not grow up eating and I really don’t like at all, despite my love of cream of mushroom soup. Normally, I’m a fan of veggies that still have some life in them, but these beans are cooked until they are very soft, tender and rather drab-colored.

But what they lack in color, they make up for in flavor! And that braising liquid (or pot liquor if we’re being real Southern) is just so darn delicious.

Give me a bowl of white fluffy rice with these beans and some of their juice on top — and maybe a few shakes of Crystal hot sauce — and I’m a happy girl. More often than not, my dad would just use bacon, but I like the meatiness of the ham or smoked turkey.

Dad’s Braised Green Beans


1 large onion, sliced

6 garlic cloves, sliced

1.5 pounds green beans

3 smoked turkey legs

4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups white wine

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste


Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.


Add all ingredients to a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a rapid simmer. You want evaporation, so don’t turn it down too low.

Partially cover and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated. This should take a couple hours, but just keep an eye, stirring every now and then.

Remove turkey legs, shred meat from bones. Discard skin, bones and cartilage. Return meat to pot and stir to combine.

Serve as a side on your Thanksgiving buffet. Or serve any time of year, either as a side or as a veggie-heavy main course, with some fluffy white rice.


  • You can use smoked turkey wings or legs. I’ve never had trouble finding these in the meat department of my local stores.
  • If you want to use ham or ham hocks, just add it in the same manner as the turkey. I’d use 3 to 4 hocks, or a small ham cut into a few large chunks.
  • Be careful with the salt. Store-bought stock can be salty, and the ham or turkey will be quite salty. Hold back on salting until near the end of cooking, and once you’ve tasted the beans and broth.

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.


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