Monday, 11 June 2012

Dried beans and winter food

One of the great pleasures of winter is beany, soupy, stewy things. They are the kind of food, like good porridge and risotto, that warm you from the inside out.

It was a cold for Sydney (max 14c) and drizzly wet day yesterday (and is again today) and so I decided to make a beany thing. It all started by me remembering that, way back in the cupboard, was a stash of home grown dried beans.

I have two jars of a former season's dried beans. I didn't dry any of last summer's beans, I guess I didn't need to considering I had two jars! I tend to dry my beans when I have been away on holidays from the garden when the beans are in full flush and come home to beans too fat and bulging to be nice to eat green. I don't let them go to waste though and pick them off  just before they are fully dry and do the last bit of drying on the back verandah and then jar them up.

The two jars are of two different beans. One is a  lovely brown skinned bean. It was a green bean, but do you think I can remember which?  I am serially bad at noting varieties, its something I need to change.

The other jar is the dried bean of a climbing borlotti. It dries a two-toned brown rather than lovely red and cream pods they come from. The original seeds came over the fence from the Italian-origin neighbours. The pods were red and cream -  just like normal dwarf borlotti beans.

I made a beany, soupy thing out of the brown beans.

Lamb shank and bean thick soup
(* from the garden)

2 lamb shanks
1 cup dried brown beans*
1 onion chopped fine
2 carrots chopped fine
2 sticks celery chopped fine
4 cloves garlic chopped fine
1 can tinned toms
stock (I had home made chicken stock in the freezer)
bay leaves*

Soak beans overnight. Drain and put on to boil  until cooked a long way thru they don't have to be totally cooked cause you will cook them in with the rest of the ingredients. Brown the lamb shanks and discard any excess unwanted fat. Sweat onion, garlic carrot and celery in the same pan that you browned the shanks in. Add all ingredients into a large saucepan and cook on a low heat. Eventually the meat falls off the bone, remove the bone and any of the bits that you don't like.When the beans are cooked thru serve with toast.

I am contributing this recipe to Greenish Thumb's Garden to Table Challenge.

But what's your favourite beany thing to eat during winter? Are you a chilli con carne fan like myself?
Which beans to you grow to dry?


  1. You know, I haven't ever dried beans. I have thought about it. I think it is worth it just for the look of them in those jars! My favourite beany thing is a borlotti and cavolo nero soup (where the borlotti beans are half blended, half left whole). Your lamb shanks sound great. Especially for a day like today.

    1. They do look nice in the jar don't they! Imagine a range of colours, some white ones, the brown, the borlotti, a nice black the sound of your soup.

  2. I make a bean and chorizo stew that I'm very partial to (provide I can find decent chorizo). I also love them with silver beet in soup.

    1. Yum, I love chorizo too. I have a chick pea and capsicum and chorizo beany stewy thing I make that came from a Gourmet Traveller that I must make again.

  3. I am always making dahl - and especially in the winter. I love red lentils. But I'm afraid I haven't yet ventured to grow and dry my own beans. I'm the lazy type and if I have to think about pre-soaking something I tend not to do it.

  4. Oh thanks for reminding me. I love dahl. It warms you from the inside out too. I make mine withthe lovely little tiny black puy lentils. But maybe I should try again with red ones. its easy to stay in the habit of using one over the other isn't it?

  5. That is amazing quantity of home-grown beans. Did you grow a huge quantity of plants to yield so much?

  6. Hi there, great to hear of your lovely bub! Hope thigns are going quietly with lots of sleep.

    I didnt grow an especially big crop, but I didnt get to eat many of these green either. In both cases I got the beans going and then went on holiday. The house sitter didnt do much picking so when I got back the beans were overgrown and seeding. So I just finished the drying off part on the back verandah and here is the result.

    It would be tempting each year to grow one set of beans for eating in the green and another just for drying.

  7. I love beany things too! Your brown beans are just beautiful. I've recently started using beans a lot - had a white bean/tuna salad this week. I also like to throw some on a brothy soup - add some spices, maybe some sausage or just with some veggies and spinach. I love a chili con carne - will make some thing week. Also love a good ole sweetish baked beans (but never tried making that from scratch).

    1. Hmm, yum, sweetish baked beans might be fun to try with my brown beans! Thanks for the idea. Love your blog btw!

  8. I saw a recipe in the newspaper calling for holiday lima beans. I was so shocked at the price when I finally found some that I just bought a packet of seeds to grow my own. Time will tell if this is a viable plan. All these beany thoughts are making me hungry.

    1. Well done you! That's it, a bit of shopping disobedience! Looking forward to hearing of your lima bean success. I wonder if anyone out there has tried growing chick peas? Have you?



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