Delicious Traditional Guernsey Bean Jar Recipe
In the Channel Island of Guernsey where I live we have a famous traditional recipe that is one of the most delicious things you will ever taste, plus being very inexpensive to make. It is called a Guernsey Bean Jar and all you need are some basic ingredients and plenty of time to cook it, as the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.
Traditional Guernsey Bean Jar is a bit like a combination of a stew and a casserole, but with much better flavour. Competitions are held frequently to find better and better recipes, and many of these recipes can be found by surfing the Internet. This dish is frequently found on menus within local family pubs and bars and is always a very popular choice.
I strongly recommend everyone to try making this dish, as I guarantee it will soon become a firm family favourite.
What Equipment Will You Need
There are two methods to actually cook your Guernsey Bean Jar, so depending on which one you choose, you will need either a large oven crock pot or casserole dish (with a tight fitting lid), or a decent sized slow cooker. The oven cooking usually produces the better results, but the results are also impressive if the Bean Jar is cooked in a slow cooker.
In addition to the above you simply need your ingredients and the patience to wait for it to be ready.
Guernsey Bean Jar Recipe
Approx 500g of dried Haricot Beans, or a combination of dried Haricot and Butter Beans.
1 decent sized pork hock with fat on and bone in, (you can also use a pigs trotter instead).
1 beef shin with bone in. (optional)
Two or three average sized carrots.
Salt + Pepper
Water enough to cover contents of casserole dish or slow cooker completely.
Water for soaking dried beans in overnight.
Some beef or pork stock (optional and not really necessary).
One or two large onions depending on size of your crock pot or dish.
A teaspoon of mixed herbs.
A French Stick loaf to eat it with.
1) First cover your dried beans in cold water in a pan and soak for 24 hours.
2) Day two, place some of the soaked beans into the bottom of your casserole dish.
3) Dice up your carrots and onions into relatively small pieces.
4) Add some of the diced vegetables to the beans already in your dish.
5) Place both the pork hock and the beef shin on top of the bean and veg mixture.
6) Add the rest of your vegetables and beans on and around the meat in the dish.
7) Add your teaspoon of mixed herbs, (or more according to taste).
8) Add approx a teaspoon of pepper, (or more according to taste).
9) Cover the contents of your casserole with water, (and stock according to your preferences).
10) Do not add the salt until the last hour or so of cooking time or your beans may stay too firm.
11) Depending on which method of cooking you have chosen either bring to the boil on a high heat in the slow cooker or in your oven, before turning the heat right down to very low (approx 100 degrees Celsius).
12) Allow to cook for an absolute minimum of 10 hours, although I prefer to leave mine cooking for near on 24 hours. Every now and again check the dish to make sure the contents are still covered with liquid and top up if necessary.
13) Remove the meat carefully from the dish and then remove the fat and the bones and discard before returning the meat in small shreds or pieces to your casserole dish.
14) Now is the time to add your salt (according to taste), and top up the water for the last time if necessary.
15) Return your casserole to the oven or the slow cooker and leave on for a further hour.
16) If the bean jar seems too watery, then you can use cornflour mixed with cold water to form a runny paste, and add it to the bean jar before reheating gently on the stove, constantly stirring until the mixture boils and thickens up. Next time, remember to reduce the liquid used at the start, although the cornflour and water paste will not affect the flavour of this gorgeous meal.
17) Butter slices of your french bread stick and serve the Guernsey Bean Jar in soup bowls or deep dishes along with a spoon and several slices of the bread.
You will find this recipe is mouthwateringly moreish, and if you fail to empty the casserole dish on the day it is ready, it tastes even better on day two. My only warning, beware of a 'windy' time afterwards due to the beans, and don't worry if your friends avoid you for a day or so after eating it because of this side effect, they will soon be converts themselves if you give them a taste of your Bean Jar to try too.