This simple, delicious recipe dates back generations in my family...we always get half-runner beans for this recipe and we can find them at our local produce store around Memorial Day (they are shipped in but first taste of the season is still OH SO GOOD!!! You can tweak the recipe according to your tastes by making it sweeter (with a little sugar) or saltier...whatever you like but this is how I do them and my Mom does them, and my Grandma did them...etc...you will love them!!! These are always a big hit at cook outs and pot lucks or gatherings...it is my go to dish to take somewhere...
Half runners have the very distinct feature of a string that runs down both sides of the bean...i find it easiest to snap off one end of the bean and pull the string down then snap the other end and remove the string on the other side....This will help you remove most of the strings but you will never get them all so don't get frustrated...small price to pay for the end result! So, step one is to snap off the ends and remove the string and break the beans into halves, or thirds...then put them in your kitchen sink and run water over them to wash them off
Dice up your onion and remove the skin off of a 1-2 lb chunk of jowl bacon...salt pork can also be used but I prefer the jowl bacon...slice the jowl in about 1/4 in. slices...put your bacon grease or lard in a large stock pot on med. hi heat, add your jowl bacon and let it get kinda brown on the edges and fry up a little bit...add diced onion at this point as well...Saute onion for about 5 min.
Put all of your beans into the stock pot, add water just up to the top of the beans (do not cover completely), add salt & pepper (I use about an 1/8 of a cup each of the salt and pepper for optimum flavor but you can adjust according to your dietary allowances and taste. Cover and bring to a hard boil then turn heat down and just cook with a steady light boil on about medium for approximately an hour.
While the beans are cooking boil your potatoes. Tiny potatoes are rare at the grocery store though the earliest new potatoes at the farmers market can be just this small. I would pick out the smallest red-skinned potatoes available, of similar size so they cook evenly. Cook them whole,(you can peel them if you want, but it can be tedious with potatoes of a very small size) then cut into halves or quarters when tossing with the butter. In a large sauce pan boil till fork tender....drain and add the stick of butter to the potatoes...when melted and your beans are done dump the potatoes (with butter) over into the bean pot and stir...Adjust seasonings and Enjoy!!