The story behind these Southern Green Beans is a long and bittersweet one. It all starts with Dustin…
Being from Texas and all, Dustin has always loved this slow-cooked, Southern style of green beans. Then, on a trip to Northwest Arkansas about 4 years ago during a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, Dustin and I experienced the Monte Ne Inn.
After going to church with Rollie (Dustin’s dad), Grandma Aggie and PopPop, we all drove out to a neighboring town to have fried chicken for lunch. The whole way there (a good 30-40 minutes), Pop Pop and Grandma Aggie told us about how great this place was and how much they were looking forward to having lunch there.
When we finally arrived, we were all absolutely starving. Then, we saw the line.
Let me tell you something we learned about the Monte Ne Inn on a Sunday afternoon in northwest Arkansas: There’s gonna be a wait. And it’s gonna be a long one.
After smelling the delicious food and annoyed at the long drive out there, we put our name down to be seated. And we waited. And we waited some more. And, then, we decided to leave because we were just too hungry. And, then, we changed our minds and we waited some more. Finally, after reaching a state of delirium, we got seated. The place was just packed and we were seated in the very back of the restaurant.
I don’t think they even use menus. Everybody orders the same thing: The Fried Chicken. It’s served family style — delicious fried chicken, sweet corn, bean soup, freshly baked bread with whipped honey butter and sweet homemade jam, mashed potatoes and gravy and southern cooked green beans. For dessert, we had homemade blackberry cobbler made with blackberries grown out back and freshly picked that morning. Are you kidding me?
I don’t think Dustin or I have ever enjoyed a meal so much. We will always cherish the amazing food, great environment and wonderful company that day. It was one of those memories you just knew was important as it was happening.
We have returned a few times for the fried chicken since that trip, but it’s just not the same. The food is still delicious, but the company has changed. PopPop and Rollie have since passed away and Grandma Aggie now lives on the east coast. It’s something we can never get back and that hurts.
Among their other awesome sides, we have tried a few times to recreate the amazing green beans they serve, but it always seems to be missing something. Then, last weekend, we did it. Now, we can enjoy this delicious southern side that brings comfort to us and reminds us of good times.
So, if you’re ever just outside Bella Vista, Arkansas on a Sunday afternoon, please do yourself a favor and stop by the Monte Ne Inn for lunch. You won’t regret it.
Southern Green Beans
4 bacon slices, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, de-stemmed and chopped into 1 1/2-in. pieces
2-4 cups chicken stock
kosher salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
In a deep stock pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Reserve drippings and keep heating over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shallot, garlic and cayenne and cook for an additional minute.
Add the chopped green beans and cooked bacon and stir to combine. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the green beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook 25-45 minutes, depending on preferred level of tenderness. Check flavor again and season to taste as needed. I prefer mine a little less tender so I cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve hot.