The Kitchen Tornado presents: GG’s Green Beans

About Thomas The Kitchen Tornado: If you shop at Mollie Stone’s Greenbrae, you might know me. Yes, I’m the checker that is always sharing recipes and kitchen tips. I love to cook, but I also like to keep it simple. Make eating fun!

Notes…I’m always busy making notes. Don’t forget…remember this…write down that ingredient…what was that…uh oh, I forgot. So as I look through my “notes to self,” I spotted “GG’s Green Beans.” Now, “GG” was my grandmother, but we called her GG because she was also a Great Grandmother. As a child, I don’t remember ever seeing this woman open a can of something for dinner. If she could make it herself, she did. She was totally a Southern-biscuit-making Grande Dame of the Kitchen, coffee tin on the wood/coal burning stove full of bacon drippin’s and all. She lived to be 100 years old. She drank a little good bourbon, had an occasional smoke, and cooked with butter and bacon fat. Exercise? Ahem.

black air max 95

So, let’s see what she did to those beans.

Recipe by Thomas The Kitchen Tornado


  • 1 ham shank (more meat than a ham hock), pre-cut in quarters or at least thirds. I use the naturally smoked Mollie Shank for best quality.
  • Cheesecloth (enough to bag the shank)
  • 2 lbs Blue Lake green beans
  • Chicken Broth, enough to cover ingredients
  • Mirepoix: Aromatic vegetables (50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery) – 2 onions, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Take a large 5-quart soup pot (or your largest pot) and add the carrots, onion, garlic and celery, and saute them in the butter until tender. Then, on the bottom of the pot, place the ham shank wrapped in cheesecloth and cover it with the cleaned and snapped green beans. (The cheesecloth is used to keep the bits of bone and fat from the beans.) Cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it go a couple of hours. Yep, really. It breaks down the ham shank.

After two hours, transfer shank to a bowl, remove the cheesecloth and let it cool a bit. While still warm, remove the fat and bone, and return the shredded meat back into the pot with a slotted spoon to the serving bowl.

This is a great side dish. Serve it with anything, but it is shown here with thick-cut pork chops. My friend likes to put crumbled bacon and blue cheese over his. He swears by it.


Mike Hogan, our incredible wine steward, has selected this wine to go with the pork chops and GG’s Green Beans. If you like a lighter or white wine, feel free, because it’s up to individual taste.

Introducing Predator Old Vine Zin 2012, from Lodi where the warm climate and cool nights make a grape memorable. This is amazing. The vines are over 50 years old and produce luscious wine. It is smoky and fruit forward, with a berry cherry finish. I prefer this to the others as it has such brilliant characteristics compared to younger vines. Previous years have had ratings of 95. This is a great fine, found at Mollie Stone’s right now.

A final thought: Why do I call myself “The Kitchen Tornado?” Not because of the way my kitchen looks when I’m done cooking. I’m actually very clean and organized. I chose it because I work fast and furious, but safely. I still have all my fingers. Also, it sounds cool and is memorable.

Keep exciting those taste buds.