You’d be surprised a how much a couple simple additions brighten up plain beans, but that’s exactly the case with these speckbohnen, German green beans. They make a tasty side for Oktoberfest or any meal.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
I mentioned when I shared the braised red cabbage with apples recipe that German cooking isn’t exactly known for it’s vegetables. Potatoes, sure, but beyond that is more limited. Green beans, however, are one that are popular, though often not just as they are.
German green beans are more typically served as ‘speckbohnen’ with bacon or a cured ham known as speck. It’s only a simple twist, but adds so much.
I remember having speckbohnen when we travelled to Germany and Austria when I was a child. As I got to that age when a few bit from your parents meal wasn’t enough, but a whole meal on your own was too much, something we loved to get was a house platter.
It was a great way to not really have to decide what you wanted to eat as you got to have a bit of everything! It normally included some pork chops, sausages, Wiener schnitzel and various other meats along with some sides like German potato pancakes and commonly these German green beans.
The ‘speck’ in the name is a kind of cured meat typical to Southern German and South through to Northern Italy. It’s a little like prosciutto and has a lovely flavor. I’ve cooked with speck before when I shared my speck, potato and cheese souffle which like this, really shows it’s great flavor.
How to make speckbohnen
These beans are really easy to prepare as all you do is cook the green beans as normal and while they are cooking, soften a little onion in a skillet and add the speck to crisp up.
Having looked at recipes, a number of those in English added a bit of vinegar and sugar to the pan, plus sometimes mustard, in other words seasoning similar to German potato salad. However any German recipes I looked at didn’t do this, and it’s not something I remember. It may be regional variation, or just American adaptation over time. Go with what you prefer, either way it will be delicious I’m sure, but I’ve chosen to stick with the plainer version.
German green beans, are an easy, tasty twist on plain old beans that goes well with both Germanic foods and many more. They’d be perfect at any Oktoberfest celebration, or any excuse you can find.
Try these German green beans with these Germanic mains:
- Jaegerschnitzel with cranberry-raspberry sauce (pork with mushroom sauce)
- Sauerbraten (German pot roast)
- Wiener schnitzel
- Plus get more German recipes in the archives.
Speckbohnen (German green beans)
- 6 oz green beans
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 onion
- 3/3 oz speck or bacon (or prosciutto)
- Cook the green beans as you would normally - I'd suggest either steam them for a few minutes, boil or cook in the microwave with a little water. Whichever way, it will only take a couple minutes and you want them tender but only just so they don't become mushy and keep their nice green color. Drain and set aside.
- While the beans are cooking, melt the butter in a small-medium skillet. Finely dice the onion and add it to the pan. Cook for a minute while you finely slice and dice the speck or bacon. Add the speck/bacon to the pan and cook for a couple minutes until it is starting to crisp. Add the cooked beans, cook a minute, stirring regularly, then serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
Remember to pin for later!