Saturday, March 17, 2012


Also known as Fancy French Beans and Wieners.  Really, that's all it is.  The key to this dish is to use really good ingredients.  I use a local European style sausage and Jacob Cattle Beans but you can use whatever sausage/meat and bean combo you like.  If you can't find a decent sausage try lean ground pork with lots of sage, thyme, rosemary and garlic.  Great Northern Beans are often used in more traditional recipes.  White kidney beans would also work nicely.  Remember if you are using canned beans to watch the sodium level.  If you are using dried beans be sure they are the consistency you want before you add any juice, tomato or wine since adding acid will stop the cooking process leaving you with hard beans. 

Keep this dish low sodium by using reduced sodium bacon, ground pork, dried beans or canned beans with no salt added, no salt added tomatoes and homemade or low sodium chicken broth.  I often use regular bacon and a really good quality sausage (moderate sodium), dried beans, no salt added tomatoes and my homemade chicken broth which I don't add salt to so I can control the salt when I use it in recipes.  And I NEVER salt a dish until the end once everything is added and cooked together.  Then I see if the dish needs seasoning (salting) or not.  You'd be amazed how little salt I add this way.  I constantly amazed at how rarely I need to add salt and how little it takes when I do. 

Okay I'll get off my soapbox now and get down to the recipe.

Serves 6-8

  • 2 cups dried Jacob Cattle Beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 5 Toulouse sausages, (French herb and garlic sausages)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 5 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine or apple juice
  • salt and pepper as necessary

  1. Heat beans and water in a saucepan, bringing to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for an hour.  This can vary depending on the beans so check them often.  Don't overcook them.  At this point you just want them to be starting to plump up but still quite firm.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven pan over medium high heat. Add in bacon and cook until crispy.  Add in the sausage and cook until the sausage is browned
  3. Add the onion, celery, carrots and parsnip and cook until tender, about 15 minutes
  4. Add in the garlic, thyme, chicken broth and beans.
  5. Simmer until the beans are the right consistency, 2-3 hours approximately
  6. Once the beans are as you like them, add in the tomatoes and wine/juice.  Let simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
  7. Check the seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if necessary. 

Some traditional recipes use breadcrumbs on the top and place the whole pot in the oven to crisp it up the top.  Sometimes I do this and sometimes I skip it.  It thickens up the dish but often I don't find this necessary.  It's up to you.

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