Earl Grey Tea Scented Cranberry Beans & Cabbage

Winter is not letting up and a pot of steaming hot beans is wonderful for dinner. It’s on the table in about an hour but tastes like it was simmering on the stove all day. When thinking of beans, I’m sure that tea isn’t something that comes into mind, but they are unexpectedly delicious when lightly flavored with the depth of Earl Grey tea. And it makes the house smell terrific! The parsnips in this recipe also give the beans a slight sweetness making it a mildly sweet and savory dish. This is really nice served over jasmine rice. Enjoy!

  • 4 cups chopped savoy cabbage
  • 1 cup fresh cranberry beans, (about 1/2 a pound in the pods)
  • 2 parsnips, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup of Earl Grey tea with the tea bag reserved
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 star anise
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the onion, garlic and the olive oil, saute on low heat until the onion and garlic are soft, about 10 minutes. Next add in the cabbage, beans and parsnip and cover with the liquids. Toss in the tea bag, (if it’s a paper bag transfer the tea into a spice bag and tie with kitchen twine) and the star of anise. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Cover and bring up to a boil on high heat, once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for about 50 minutes. Test the softness of the beans after 30 minutes and adjust cooking time as needed. Discard the tea bag and the star of anise and serve. Makes about 3 servings. Double the recipe as needed.

Cranberry Bean, Smoked Pork Chop & Sauerkraut Stew

The season of stews is upon us. The cold weather is settling in, bringing its’ wet weather, gloves and frozen cheeks with it. I love those first few minutes walking into a warm house, where you thaw out a bit. And it’s even better when there is a chock full of creamy beans, smoky pork and sauekraut bubbling away on a hot stove, filling the house with savory smells. About two weekends ago, I stopped by a supermarket that I don’t usually frequent and saw these smoked pork chops that I had to bring home to experiment with. It was a sunny and oddly warm day and I was tempted to throw them on the grill, to see what happened but I had a feeling that low and slow cooking would lend that smoky flavor over to the cranberry beans and sauerkraut and it pleasantly did. This stew is great as leftovers, it’s even better warmed up the next day! Enjoy!

  • 1 cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 smoked pork chops
  • 2 cups drained sauerkraut and carrots from a jar, (usually found in the Polish aisle)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • a few dried champignon mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 juniper berries

Place the cranberry beans in a large heavy bottomed pot, top with the pork chops. Add the bay leaves, juniper berries and water to the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat, covered. Remove any foam that comes to the surface. Once it boils, lower the heat and stir in the the tomato paste and simmer on low heat for 1 hour, covered. Stir occasionally, so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. I love my wooden spoons for that! After your hour is up, remove the pork chops and set aside. Add in the sauerkraut (squeezed super dry), mushrooms and the garlic. Remove the meat off of the bone, shredding and cutting the meat into small pieces and add back into the pot. Increase the heat to high, so your stew begins to boil again. Once it does, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and juniper berries before serving. Makes about 4 servings.