Aaron Fowler’s Bacon Onion Marmalade Green Beans Recipe

It’s a milestone year for the Arkansas Foodbank, and that calls for a celebration. The nonprofit will mark its 40th anniversary by taking things up a notch at its Empty Bowls signature fundraiser, transporting guests to the golden age of Hollywood and treating them to, among other things, a sit-down dinner with food and cocktails from sister restaurants Petit & Keet and Cypress Social.

Ahead of the swingin’ night, Cypress Social Executive Chef Aaron Fowler is sharing a recipe from the Empty Bowls menu that serves as a bit of time travel itself.

“This dish reminds me so much of cooking with my grandma growing up,” Fowler says, “and for me, it’s Sunday afternoon comfort food.”

Bacon Onion Marmalade Green Beans

By Aaron Fowler


  • 2 lbs. fresh green beans, blanched
  • 3 slices hickory smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme, picked
  • water as needed

Credit: Jason Masters



  1. Begin by blanching the green beans. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a rolling boil and season with kosher salt. Blanch the green beans until they are tender, about 2-4 minutes, then immediately transfer to an ice bath to shock them.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, begin to render the bacon and cook until it is crispy, then remove it from the pot, leaving behind the bacon fat in the pot.
  3. Return the pot to the heat and saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add in the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and orange juice, and continue to cook.
  4. When the liquid begins to get syrupy, season with paprika, cayenne, pepper, salt and thyme. Continue to cook for a few more minutes to let the seasonings develop with the onions, then add the crispy bacon back into the pot.
  5. Add the blanched green beans to the onion mixture and continue to cook, deglazing if needed with some water until the beans begin to break down and soften.
  6. Adjust seasoning as needed, and then the beans are ready to serve.

Credit: Jason Masters


Empty Bowls
Benefiting the Arkansas Foodbank

May 18, 5 p.m. | The Venue at Oakdale | More info

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