In an effort to practice better home economy, I have declared this the Winter of the Bean.
In the last few weeks I’ve experimented with baked beans and chili. Today, I made Bohnensuppe (Bean Soup) as per a simple recipe in my German Cookery book.
Slow cooking and short on ingredients, it’s my favourite kind of recipe: a one-pot stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that’s decently healthy and cheap to prepare. To my dismay, however, the finished product was also glunky-looking and… mauve. It looked remarkably like medical waste.
It reminded me of an east coast Irish Stew recipe I made when my mother-in-law was visiting. It was dead simple and insanely delicious but, sadly, looked indistinguishable from canned dog food.
I feel like this is something cookbooks could mention. Maybe editors could give these recipes their own section–something like, “When entertaining people who already know and love you” or “For low-light dining.”
I’ll still make them both, though, and pass the recipes along.
Lots of weight measurements in these recipes. In case you don’t have a scale, remember: A pint’s a pound the world around. (And a pint is 2 cups.)
½ lb dried legumes (soaked overnight)
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
a few strips of bacon
After soaking overnight, drain beans. Cover with 2 qts fresh water, salted, and cook until tender (2 hrs).
*The next part of the recipe confused me: It said “pat beans through a strainer.” I have no idea if this means drain them, or if it’s actually suggesting one mashes them “through” a strainer, which seems insane. I drained them.
Reserve cooking water.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and add flour and 1 c of cooking water. Stir until smooth. Add to drained/strained beans. Chop bacon, fry lightly, and add to beans. (Since bacon is deadly now, or if you’re vegetarian, add a few drops of liquid smoke instead.) Season with garlic, if desired.
[I modified with: black pepper; a generous dash of Worcestershire; an onion, chopped and lightly sauteed with the bacon; enough stock to thin it out to my liking. Pro-tip: use white beans to avoid the weird pink colour.]
3 lbs loin or neck of mutton (Depending on what you have, substitute as you see fit.)
4 lbs of potatoes, pared and sliced
4 lrg onions, quartered
salt and pepper
1 pint water
Cut the meat into medium-sized peices and prepare the potatoes and onions. In a stew pan, place a layer of potatoes, then a layer of meat pieces and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat until stew pan is full. Add the water and simmer gently for 2 hours, keeping the cover on until done. “Shake” occasionally to keep contents from sticking or burning.
Blindfold guests and serve. Hahaha