Monday, January 24, 2011

pot o' beans

Today's This Week's Cravings is all about soups!  Now, you know I love soups.  I've posted several recipes on this site already and will be linking many of them up today.  But the soup I'm sharing today is a little different...because it's kind of not a soup.

Or is it? you consider a pot of beans the same thing as a pot of soup?  Verdict is still out for me.  Either way, it's absolutely delicious.

This particular recipe was inspired by a favorite author of mine, Jan Karon.  I get the same rush out of reader her stories of Father Tim and his small town of Mitford as I do from eating a piece of pie.  I can't get enough!  One of the best parts of her novels is that the characters are always eating delicious food, and Jan Karon paints such a vivid picture that you can actually taste it.

In addition to her novels, she also came out with a companion cookbook that's full of recipes for delicious comfort food.  Someday I look forward to owning it.  Until then, I just copy recipes out of my mother-in-law's book.  One of the recipes I copied was for Jan's pot of beans...after a few tweaks and changes of my own, this is the deliciousness that emerged!

Place 1 pound of mixed beans in a stock pot and cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil, and then turn off the heat, place a lid on it, and let it sit there for one hour.

Next step - drain the beans.

Toss a few tablespoons of butter and a few tablespoons of olive oil in the stockpot.

Then, plop in a nice heaping tablespoon of minced garlic...

...and some slices of onion.  Saute over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until onions get soft.

Drop the beans back into the pot and cover everything with water.  Add some spices - rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, paprika, and black pepper.  And, of course, add a bit of pork.  Jan's recipe called for a ham hock, but my grocery store didn't have one.  Instead, I threw in a package of salt pork.

Bring everything to a boil, and then put a lid on it once again.  Lower the heat to about medium low and let it simmer for 2 hours.

After it's done, be sure to remove the salt pork and the bay leaves.

You could eat these beans as a soup, but we particularly love them served over a big slice of cornbread and covered in lots...lots...of Tabasco. :-)

Pot o' Beans
inspired by Jan's Pot of Beans in Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook

1 pound mixed dried beans, picked over
3 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 T. minced garlic, heaping
1 T. dried rosemary
1 T. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 package salt pork
1 T. paprika
1 t. freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in a large stockpot and cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the beans sit for 1 hour.  Drain the beans.  In the same stockpot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic for 8-10 minutes, or until softened.  Add the beans and enough fresh water to cover.  Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, salt pork, paprika, and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours, checking the beans often and adding water as necessary.  Remove the salt pork and bay leaves before serving.
I can't wait to see what soup recipes you link as many as you want (just remember to link back to us, pretty please).


  1. Yeah, I have a bag of mixed beans I almost experimented with for this week. So glad I didn't and I can now make this - it's looks sooo yummy!!

  2. I LOVE beans and this looks fantastic! Thanks!

  3. Your beans look like a great winter dinner! Yumm!


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