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Baked Bean DipBlack Bean DipBoston Baked Beans #1Crockpot BeansMaine Beans & ApplesThree-bean Salad
Bean SoupBlack Bean SoupBoston Baked Beans #2Ham & Bean DipPasta e FagioliUS Sen. Rest. Bean Soup

I know, I know...I've used pots of gold instead of pots of beans (because quite honestly I couldn't find any beanpots!) I suppose I really should justify my choice. Truth be told those beans really are gold if you start weighing nutrients pound for pound against many other crops. And if your taste runs to vegetarianism, you can simply add a grain like corn or wheat and come up with a whole protein. People who eat beans on a regular basis don't have trouble digesting them. It's a matter of introducing them into your diet in small amounts on a daily basis. If you still have trouble...well...there's always Beano. It's true that if you throw out the soaking water that it's less of a problem. Unfortunately you also throw out a good many vitamins and nutrients as well. You will have to decide whether or not you wish to keep all the nutrients and boil the beans in that soaking water, or whether you'll throw it out in favor of fresh water for the boiling. You should know that the longer you soak the beans and the slower you cook them, the easier they are to digest. The old trick of adding baking soda to the water does not work on the sugars that cause the digestive problems and actually destroys many of the nutrients. Some herbs are used in the cooking to counteract the problem, namely dill and epazote (in Mexican dishes).

When soaking beans overnight, use 2½ to 3 cups of cold water per cup of beans. When boiling them, a standard test is to take out a few on a spoon and then blow on them. If the skins wrinkle or peel back, then they are done. Mash a few to see if they're tender enough for you though. You won't find exact amounts of water to use because it varies with the type of bean and the age of the bean. Old beans are tougher and take longer to cook. Always boil the beans before adding salt, fat or meat since these items will actually hinder the beans from becoming tender.

menuBaked Bean Dip
Yield: 1¼ cups
1 c. mashed baked beans
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp catsup¼ c. minced onion
1/8 tsp celery salt

Combine ingredients and keep refrigerated till serving.

menuBean Soup
Tools: Kettle or crockpot
1 c. dry Navy or Great Northern beans
1 ham bone
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup chopped celery
3 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 cup peeled, diced potatoes

  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer till nearly done, then drain.
  3. Put beans with all other ingredients in a kettle (or crockpot on high setting) and cover with water.
  4. Simmer till vegetables are tender.

menuBlack Bean Dip
Tools: Blender or food processorYield: 1½ to 2 cups
1 med. onion, finely chopped
1 sm clove garlic, minced
½ stalk celery, minced
2 tbsp lard (or bacon fat)
1 c. black beans, cooked
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp sugar
salt to taste

  1. Saute onion, garlic and celery in lard till wilted.
  2. Combine with beans and other ingredients and mix in blender till well pureed.
  3. Simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, being very careful it does not scorch. Add milk if puree gets too dry, or till it has the consistency of a dip.
  4. Serve hot or cold with potato chips, crackers or tortillas.

menuBlack Bean Soup
1½ lbs dry black beans
1 ham bone
2 oz salt pork
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp thyme
2 medium onions
1 small sweet green pepper
1 carrot
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup sherry (or wine of choice)
cooked, long-grain rice
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

  1. Soak beans and bone overnight in water.
  2. Bring to boil and simmer in same water (add more as necessary to cover) with minced salt pork, garlic, bay leaf and thyme for 2 hours.
  3. Chop onion, sweet pepper and carrot and add to beans and simmer for 1 hour longer.
  4. Remove bone.
  5. Put mixture through blender, a small amount at a time till smooth.
  6. Return to kettle and reheat.
  7. Add salt, pepper and wine.
  8. In heated soup bowl drop 1 generous tbsp of rice; then pour bean soup over rice and garnish with thin slices of lemon and egg.

menuBoston Baked Beans #1
Pans: Bean potOven: 250°F
4 c. Navy beans
3 tsp salt
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dry mustard
½ lb. salt pork

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. Drain, cover with fresh water.
  3. Bring to boil and simmer till tender, then drain.
  4. Pour ½ of beans into bean pot.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients and add to pot.
  6. Pour in remaining beans.
  7. Cover with boiling water and bake 8 hours at 250°F; watch and add more water if necessary.

menuBoston Baked Beans #2
Pans: Bean pot or suitable baking dishOven: 250°F
2 lbs dry Navy or Pea beans
¼ to ½ lb salt pork, scored to the rind
½ to 1 cup maple syrup
1 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste
boiling water

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. Bring to a boil in the same water and simmer till tender (1½ to 2 hours).
  3. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  4. Put beans in baking dish or bean pot; place salt pork in the center; add the maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper; cover with boiling water.
  5. Bake for 8 hours (add water if necessary to keep covered).

menuCrockpot Beans
Tools: Crockpot
2 c. (1 lb) dry beans
3 strips bacon, cut in pieces
½ tbsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp dry mustard
¼ c. molasses
1/8 c. brown sugar
1/8 c. vinegar
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf (optional)

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. In morning boil till tender and skins peel back when blown on.
  3. Drain beans, reserving boiling water, and place in crockpot.
  4. To beans add remaining ingredients.
  5. Add reserved water (can also be fresh water if desired), plus any additional water to cover beans well plus another inch more.
  6. Cook on HIGH setting for 6 to 8 hours.

menuHam & Bean Dip
Tools: CrockpotYield: About 1½ cups
Options: To change color or flavor use Pinto, Christmas Lima or other beans. You can also add chopped green pepper rather than onion or celery; you can use ½ cup of pork fat or pork rind in addition to the ham.
1 c. dry Baby Lima, Navy, Great Northern or other white beans
2½ c. water (add more as beans cook, if needed, to keep covered)
1 c. ham
½ c. chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp salt

  1. Wash and sort beans and place in crockpot with other ingredients, except the salt.
  2. Cook on LOW setting for 12 to 15 hours (or presoak beans overnight, then add to other ingredients except the salt, and cook till beans are soft).
  3. Drain and reserve liquid.
  4. Remove ham and set aside.
  5. Put remaining cooked ingredients through a food mill and press out the pulp.
  6. Finely mince ham by hand and return to pulp.
  7. Blend the pulp thoroughly and add salt to taste.
  8. If dip is too thick add a bit of the bean liquid.
  9. Serve hot or cold with chips or crackers.

menuMaine Beans & Apples
Pans: Bean pot or casserole dishOven: 325°F
2 c. dry Navy beans
1/3 lb salt pork, sliced and cubed
3 c. sliced, cored apples
1¼ tsp salt
1/3 c. molasses
pinch of ginger (optional)

  1. Wash beans and cover with water.
  2. Heat to boiling; cook about 1 hour or till tender (will depend on variety and age of beans used).
  3. Drain, saving liquid.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  5. Arrange beans, part of the pork and all of the apples in layers in a casserole dish or bean pot; season each layer with salt and molasses.
  6. When finished, top with slices of pork.
  7. Pour 2 c. cooking liquid over top (sprinkle ginger on top if desired).
  8. Bake till tender for about 1½ hours; check several times; if beans become too dry, add more cooking liquid.

menuPasta E Fagioli
1 lb dry Navy beans
3 quarts water
1 beef bone
3 tbs oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
2 c. tomatoes
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. macaroni, cooked (or more for a very thick soup)
Parmesan cheese

  1. Soak beans overnight. Drain soaking water into a large kettle and add enough water to make 3 quarts.
  2. Place beef bone in water and bring to a boil.
  3. Slowly stir in beans and simmer till tender.
  4. Heat oil in skillet and saute garlic, onion and green pepper; add these to beans along with tomatoes, herbs, seasonings and the drained macaroni.
  5. If mixture is too soupy, remove some of the beans, mash them and then return to the pot to serve as a thickening agent. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

menuThree-Bean Salad
1½ c. green beans
1½ c. yellow beans
1½ shell beans
slivered green peppers
slivered onions
2/3 c. wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/3 c. sugar
½ c. oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

  1. Combine vegetables in a bowl.
  2. Blend together vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, pepper and garlic.
  3. Combine and allow to stand for 5 minutes before adding to vegetables.
  4. May be served immediately or allowed to steep first for several hours. If allowing to go overnight place in refrigerator.

menuUS Senate Restaurant Bean Soup
2 lbs dry Navy beans
4 quarts water
1½ lbs smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. Add ham hocks and enough water to cover.
  3. Bring to boil and simmer, covered, for 3 hours. Braise onion in butter till light brown, then add to soup; season and serve.

©1998 & 2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH