These are awesome. It took me a while to perfect the recipe, but now that I’ve done so, I want to serve them at every gathering we host. What better way to eat veggies than wrapped in bacon!?
The first time I made these, I followed the directions exactly and immediately could see room for improvement. The original recipe called for cooking the bundles on a jelly roll pan, which was fine until you served them and realized that the bacon tops were crisp but the bottoms were soggy and floating in grease. Gross. Additionally, the green beans were dried out from 40 minutes in the oven, making them overly chewy and difficult to eat.
The next time I baked these, I cooked them on a cookie rack to keep the bundles from floating in grease, and I turned and basted them half way through cooking to allow the bacon to brown evenly on all sides. And to solve the problem of the bacon and green beans cooking at different rates, I blanched the green beans for 4 minutes in boiling water and pre-cooked the bacon for a couple of minutes on the stove until it was just beginning to cook and yet still very pliable. This halved the cooking time and resulted in much more evenly cooked bundles. My only problem was the sauce; I had doubled it, which was a great decision, but the brown sugar kept caramelizing into a solid mass. That would not work very well for basting! I decided that the brown sugar should be added to the sauce last, off the heat, and simply stirred until dissolved. The result? Green bean bacon bundle perfection.
green bean bacon bundles
recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is and cooking methods developed by Dishing the Divine
1 pound fresh green beans
10-12 slices of thick-cut bacon (I used applewood smoked bacon and loved it)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400F. Place a cookie rack on top of a large baking sheet.
Boil a large pot of water. While the water is boiling, cut the ends off the green beans. Blanch in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until the beans are bright green and tender crisp. Drain in a colander and rinse immediately with cold water. Set aside.
Cook bacon in batches on the stove for 2-3 minutes or until the meat is just starting to cook but is still very pliable. (It should not be crisp or else you won’t be able to wrap it around the green beans!)
Gather the green beans in bunches of 6-8 beans, wrap with a piece of bacon, and place on the cookie rack. Secure with a toothpick if you desire. Repeat the process for the remaining green beans and bacon.
On the stove over medium high heat, heat the butter until melted. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, add the brown sugar, and stir until dissolved. Baste the tops of the bundles with half of this mixture.
Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully rotate all the bundles so that the tops become the bottoms. Baste again with the remaining sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the bacon is crispy brown. Serve immediately, adding more salt to taste.