Showing posts with label beans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beans. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grandma Mary's Bean Soup #Recipe @PegCochran

I've been trying to work my way through some of the food stocked in the big freezer we have out in the garage.  When something I use frequently--like chicken--is on sale, I will stock up.  But the freezer is getting a little too full and since it seems the apocalypse has been delayed for the time being, I thought I'd better start using some of the frozen food.

 While I was poking around I discovered the ham bone I'd saved from Easter dinner (I also found the ham bone I'd saved from the *previous* Easter's dinner but that's a story for another time.)  I always loved my mother-in-law's bean soup which she made after Easter with the ham bone, and fortunately I had the recipe so here it is!


2 quarts boiling water
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns (I didn't count)
1 onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
1 lb. great Northern beans

I know there's an enormous divide among those who believe beans need to be soaked and those who don't.  I decided to be on the safe side and I soaked the beans overnight in cold water.

If there are any good bits of ham still clinging to the bone, or if you've saved some ham, cut it into bite-sized pieces and put it aside.

Put all of the above in a large soup pot, bring to a boil, skim the foam from the top and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  My beans must have been very fresh because they only took 2 hours to become soft and tender.

Optional step:  Since I had time before dinner, I put the soup in the refrigerator until the fat congealed on top making it super easy to remove.

Congealed fat--so easy to skim off!

More Ingredients:

carrots, sliced
parsnip, sliced
onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Leftover cubed ham
salt and pepper to taste

You will note there are no quantities for some of these ingredients.  The recipe called for 6 carorts, 3 parsnips and 3 onions.  That seemed excessive especially given the size of my carrots.  I put in 1 parsnip, 2 carrots and 1 onion.  It made for a full pot of soup and I didn't think it needed anymore.  Use your judgment.  If you LOVE carrots, you can add more.

Add the above along with the ham to the soup pot and cook another 30 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.  Mine took forever.  Note to self: make thinner slices next time.

Add a sprinkle of paprika (about a teaspoon or to taste), stir and serve.  If you want to go all retro, enjoy with buttered saltines.  If you want to be very grown-up, serve with good crusty bread.

For more good recipes, and a good mystery, pick up a copy of Berry the Hatchet, #2 in my Cranberry Cove series!

Coming in September -- an all new series!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Welcome Agatha Nominee Barbara Ross with a guest post

To learn more about
Barbara Ross and her
click here.

Please welcome our guest to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, the talented Barbara Ross.

The first book in Barbara's series, Clammed Up, has been nominated for the 2014 Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, and she's here today to tell us about her new entry, Boiled Over, coming out this May. 
Take it away, Barbara! 

~ Cleo

I’m happily looking forward to May 6 and the release of Boiled Over, the second book in my Maine Clambake Mystery series. 

The book takes place at the height of the summer season, when running the Snowden Family Clambake leaves little time for solving mysteries. But when a charred foot tumbles out of the clambake fire and one of Julia Snwoden’s employees is accused, she has to join the chase for the real killer.

That chase leads Julia to a camp where Mi’kmaq tribe members from Canada stay when they come to Maine to harvest the wild blueberry crop. She stays for dinner and eats these delicious camp-style beans.

“They taste something like New England baked beans,” Julia said.

“And who do you think invented those?” Her host smiled at her. “All the tribes in Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick cooked beans mixed with maple syrup and bear fat in clay pots buried with hot coals.”

“The beans in this are bigger than I’m used to.”

“Soldier beans. Now grown all over, but native to this region.”

* * * * 

Baked Camp Beans

This recipe is adapted to be made at home (as opposed to at camp).


1 pound soldier beans
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 thick slices slab bacon, chopped
3 thick slices salt pork, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, diced, leaves chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 quarts water
salt and pepper to taste


Soak beans for one hour. Heat oil in large saucepan. Render bacon and salt pork in oil for about three minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for another three-four minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for one hour. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Put beans in a bean pot or covered casserole and cook in the oven for four hours. 
(Slow Cooker Alternative: after simmering, place in a slow cooker on high for four hours.) Check occasionally. Adjust seasonings. If you think it’s necessary, remove cover for last hour of cooking to thicken.

Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of Clammed Up, which was nominated for a 2014 Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel as well as the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth. The second book in the series, Boiled Over, will be released in May 2014. Barbara’s short story, "Bread Baby" in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold was also nominated for an Agatha Award. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You can visit Barbara’s website at

Thank you for joining us today
in the Kitchen, Barbara!

Book Giveaway

The first book in Barbara's
Clambake Mystery Series, the 2014
Agatha Nominated CLAMMED UP.

This giveaway is now closed.
The winner has been announced.
To see the announcement,

 click here.

Thank you all for your
wonderful comments!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pasta e Fagioli a la Lucy Burdette


Today's recipe might be a little confusing, because it's obviously Italian and I'm just home from a wonderful trip to France, not Italy. But after spending ten days feasting on amazing pastries like the ones at the left, you can understand that I need to eat homey, plain food for a while to let my system catch up. One of the funny things we noticed about the French (besides the incredible pastries and bread and the smoking--you would not believe how many people smoke!), was the dearth of green vegetables. Even my husband announced one day that in the course of three meals, nothing green had passed his lips.. 

So this soup doesn't have green veggies in it either, but it's relatively low on fat and full of fiber and delicious comfort food for a fall night. Serve it with a green salad and maybe some biscuits or good bread, and you've got supper!

Pasta e Fagioli: Ingredients

2 tablespoons
4-5 slices bacon, chopped
1  sprig rosemary, left intact
1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
Coarse salt and pepper
1 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (I forgot to buy this so you see ziti)
1 chunk Parmesan rind for soup (optional)
Grated Parmesan or Romano, for the table


Brown the bacon. Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Next, add the olive oil to the pan. Over medium heat, saute the bay leaf, rosemary, chopped vegetables, and garlic until soft. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Remove to a large soup pan. 

 Add tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and simmer. Add the beans and the chunk of Parmesan rind if desired and simmer. (The rind is not necessary but it adds flavor and it's fun to come across the gooey, tasty mass at the bottom.) At this point, you may want to refrigerate the soup overnight for more flavor.

Bring the soup back to simmer and cook the ditalini separately until just tender, then add to the pot. Or dish the pasta into bowls and ladle the soup over top. Garnish with the crispy bacon and serve with freshly grated cheese and crusty bread or biscuits and definitely, a green salad. Bon appetit or buon appetito! (You know what I mean:)

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. MURDER WITH GANACHE will be out in February, but you can pre-order it now.

Follow Lucy on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chefs Collaborative

by Sheila Connolly

Chefs Collaborative is a national network of chefs that promotes sustainable foods in a variety of ways.  I first heard of them when they offered an apple-tasting workshop at a Boston restaurant, back when I had just begun to write the Orchard Mysteries, and the guest speaker was the food historian from Old Sturbridge Village.  She came supplied with a range of heirloom apples (the ones you won't find in most markets), and a group of twenty or so attendees munched happily away.  

My second exposure to the group was at an event in Cambridge, where Boston chef Jamie Bissonette presented what was billed as a "pig fabrication breakdown." Translation: he walked in with a 140-pound pig (gutted but otherwise whole) and reduced the thing to recognizable, edible portions in front of a standing-room only crowd. It was fascinating to watch. (He also served a pate made of pigs ears—crunchy!)

The results

Now the Chefs Collaborative has produced its first cookbook, using recipes from a wealth of member chefs, and I bought it immediately.  It is both functional and beautiful—the photographs are amazing.  It's also a bit schizophrenic:  there is much valuable information about what kind of ingredients are available to the home cook (if you know where to look), but there are also a lot of recipes that are a bit beyond the reach of most of us.

I'm adapting one of the simpler recipes, and even for that one I was scratching my head and saying "huh?" about some of the ingredients. But I hope I've stayed true to the spirit of the dish.

Roasted Chicken with Beans, Pancetta and Kale a la Chefs Collaborative

(the original recipe was contributed by Ethan Stowell of the Staple and Fancy Mercantile Restaurant in Seattle, WA)

The Chicken

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 lemon, cut in half
1 bunch fresh thyme
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place a rack in the center of the oven.

Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry.  Season the cavity and loosely stuff it with the garlic, lemon and thyme. Rub the outside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put the chicken on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan and cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours.  The juices from the thigh should run clear; if you're worried, a thermometer in the thigh joint should read 165 degrees.  Remove it from the oven and let it rest of 20 minutes.

The Bean and Kale Stew

This part called for controne beans, and lacinato kale.  According to Internet sources, both are popular in Italian cooking—in Italy.  Not exactly available in my supermarket, so I allowed myself some leeway and used white beans and regular kale.

2 Tblsp olive oil
4 oz pancetta, diced (you may substitute bacon, but blanch it first to remove some of the smoke and salt)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tblsp unsalted butter
2 bunches kale, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups white beans, cooked (or—gasp!—canned) with one cup of liquid
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil and pancetta/bacon until the meat is brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic is soft.  Then add the butter, kale, beans and bean liquid and mix with a wooden spoon (scraping up any of the tasty bits in the bottom of the pan).  Simmer until the kale is cooked, 5-10 minutes (add water if the mixture looks too dry).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken into serving-size pieces and serve with the stew.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mayflower Soup

by Sheila Connolly

Unless this weather starts playing tricks, spring will soon be upon us and we'll start thinking of lighter food.  I figured I'd better get this hearty soup/stew recipe posted before that happens.

Actually, I'm very proud that this dish was made solely of locally grown foods.  Nearby Plymouth has a lovely farmers' market (I think I've mentioned it here before), and in winter they hold it indoors at Plimoth Plantation, once a month.  Not surprisingly the fare emphasizes root vegetables, breads, and condiments, with the exception of pea greens, which are delightful.

Fresh pea greens

I've become buddies with one vendor who lives near me (we've commiserated about how to prune an Esopus Spitzenburg apple tree, which tends to produce long leggy branches—neither of us has had the nerve to prune ours aggressively yet).  This time she had some Mayflower beans, and I grabbed up the last pound.

Mayflower beans (dry)

Mayflower beans are said to have arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, and were sustained in the Carolinas.  They're a pole bean, with a white interior and a mottled red skin.  My farmer friend complained mightily about having to clean them for sale—she probably won't offer them again because it's tedious work.  They also require long soaking, unlike the beans we buy in plastic bags these days.  I gave mine 24 hours to soak, and they probably could have gone longer.

Mayflower beans after soaking

The basic recipe is simple:

1 lb. Mayflower beans, well soaked    at least overnight
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-2 carrots, chopped (I used one huge one)
1 parsnip, chopped
Thyme, bay leaf, or whatever herbs you like
1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
4 cups stock (if you want a vegetarian dish, use water or vegetable stock, otherwise beef or chicken stock)
Salt and pepper
Oil for sautéing

Heat in the oil in a large, deep kettle and gently cook the onion and garlic until limp but not brown.  Add the beans, carrots and parsnip, thyme and stock.

Simmer over low heat (do not boil!) until the beans are cooked (keep tasting them). This may take up to two hours. Do not add salt during the cooking, because it will toughen the beans.

When the beans are fairly soft, add the potato chunks and continue to simmer until the potatoes are cooked, maybe another half an hour.  When you reach the magic moment, the stock will thicken and become a rich reddish-brown.  Check for seasoning, then serve. A nice whole-grain bread would go nicely with it.

I confess I also threw in some kale—yes, local!—at the last minute, because it creates a nice color contrast.

And voila!  A thick and hearty soup that the original settlers would recognize.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Babs Hightower with her Grandmother's Baked Beans and Sam's Cookies!

Sam's Cookies
(Hello Dollies)

Please welcome our guest blogger, Barbara (Babs) Downey Hightower. Babs is a passionate book reviewer and blogger who is also an amazing cook. She's sharing two very special recipes with us today: one for a favorite cookie and one for her grandmother's baked beans. Take it away, Babs! 
 ~ Cleo Coyle

I am thrilled to be here with all of you today. Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is one of my favorite sites. I visit each day, so imagine my surprise when Cleo invited me to be a guest.

I love to read, but that has not always been the case. It wasn’t until high school when I had to read Rebecca, that reading caught my attention. The thriller got me hooked on mysteries from then on.

I started my website in 2008 to post my reviews for my close friends as they were always asking if I liked or even if I did not like a book. It started catching on when I asked a few authors to be guests on the site.

One day in 2010, I got to talking to Cleo about being a guest as I have always been a big fan of hers. She took me under her wing and introduced me to the blogging world. She even helped me with the title of my blog, The World of Book Reviews. I did change it to Babs World of Book Reviews as I wanted to stand out a bit more. Since then, the blog has taken off. I have had more authors contact me to be on the blog and review their books than I could ever imagine.

It might sound hard to believe, but mysteries were all I wanted to read until I started my blog. My eyes have been opened to more genres that I did not know I would enjoy. I always frowned on romances while growing up. My mom always read them. I remember her dragging me to the book exchange to turn in her old ones for new ones or the book store for the newest releases. I did not see the big hoopla of it all. Now that I look back, I wish I would have paid more attention to the book shelves when I was younger. My main genre to review is still a good old mystery.

As my husband (TJ) and I have had a recent addition to the family and since Cleo wanted to see a picture of the little fellow, I better tell you about my family.

We have 4 boys that are all adopted and all half brothers. We have Ethan 14, Logan 8, Duncan 18 months and Marco who as of today is 6 months old. We started out with Ethan who was 8 at the time and Logan who was 2. They are my babies (don’t tell Ethan). We got a call last year that the birth mom had another baby boy and would we take him. Well, of course my answer was yes. TJ and I already decided we would keep their family together if we could. So, Duncan came into the picture when he was 5 months old. I was happy with 3 boys and thought that would be it until 2 months ago. We got another call about another little boy, Marco. I never thought I would have 4 children much less 4 boys. I keep hoping for a girl one of these days, but if not, I am just as happy.

Now for the fur babies. We have 13 pets that are all rescues. We have 4 indoor cats as one just passed away. Their names are Bandit, Casper, Timber and Katie Bell. We also have 9 Siberian huskies they are, Winter, Glacier, Nanook, Avalanche, Sleet, Sapphire, Summer, Nomad and Alpine. 

We have a house full of adopted and or rescues. They all keep me on my toes. This isn’t all of the dogs of course but there is TJ holding Duncan, Logan in front of them and Nomad and Summer can’t tell who the ones are behind TJ.  --->>>

Last, but not least there's my love for cooking. My mom’s side of the family is from Georgia. Every summer and any vacation time I had from school, was spent in Georgia with my great grandmother. She cooked everything home made with no short cuts.

My mom said I was 3 years old, on a chair helping grandmother stir whatever was in the pots. She taught me a great deal about cooking and cooking with joy. She always said never treat cooking like it is a chore, if that happens you need to stop cooking. I never copied any of her recipes. I thought she would always be here.

When she passed I was 18 years old and my great uncles surprised me with all of her recipes. One of my happiest days. The most important thing my great-grandmother taught me, southern cooking isn’t just fried chicken and the fixins. It is also about lots of love.

I had so many recipes running through my mind to share. I finally narrowed it down to these two.

I love this recipe as there can be so many variations to make how you like it. This recipe is from a friend of mine.

Sam’s Cookies (Hello Dollies)

Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Oven Temp: 350 degrees F. 
Pan Size: 13 x 9


1 stick butter melted
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 cup ( 6 oz ) chocolate chips
1 cup medium sized pecan pieces
1 cup coconut ( optional )
1 cup condensed milk

Directions: Line your 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Do not mix above ingredients. Layer each ingredient separately into your pan. Press each layer down as you would in making a pie shell. Finish top layer by spreading condensed milk over it. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes. When the cookies are done, cool, cut and peel off paper.

<< Line pan with parchment.

Layer ingredients >>

<< Finish with condensed milk.

Bake, cool, cut, and peel off paper >>

*  *  *  *  *  *

Western Baked Beans

This next recipe is from my grandmother. We like to use this recipe when we are cooking out on the grill.


2 tablespoons butter 
1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 package onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoon vinegar
2- 12 oz cans of any pork and beans
Bacon slices (cooked and drained)

Directions: In skillet, heat butter and brown the ground beef (or turnkey). Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with bacon strips. I also like to add cheese and sour cream to top mine off. There are so many different ways you can.

I hope you like these 2 recipes just as much as my family does. Thank you for inviting me to be a guest today and hope to see you stop by my blog.

~ Babs


Thank You again to Babs for joining us here today.
I cannot wait to make these amazing recipes!

~ Cleo