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13 November 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > Places > Local Recipes > Bean Jar

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Bean Jar

The traditional Guernsey Bean Jar is served at many local events. It is a popular local dish which has been around for hundreds of years.

Guernsey Bean Jar has been part of island life for centuries.

It is said that in the past the bakers of Guernsey used to let islanders put their prepared bean jars in the warm ovens overnight after they had finished cooking the bread.

By the morning they were well cooked and ready to collect. Many islanders ate the dish for breakfast until around the 1920s.

The dish is served every year at the Vaier Marchi and it often runs out well before the show is finished.

As with many traditional recipes, there are lots of variations and family recipes are a well guarded secret with the tradition being said that no two Bean Jar recipes are alike.

Some use different types and quantities of beans and there is even a vegetarian version. Here is the basic recipe:

Traditional Guernsey Bean Jar

1 pigs trotter or shin of beef
½lb (200g) Haricot beans
½lb (200g) butter beans
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots diced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 pints beef stock or water

  1. Soak the beans overnight in water.
  2. Place all the ingredients in either an earthenware pot or a large casserole dish and pour over the water or stock.
  3. Cover the jar or dish and place it in a moderate oven at gas 2-3 or 150-170°C for 6-8 hours.
  4. Check the dish occasionally and top up the water level as needed.
  5. Check the seasoning, remove the bones from the meat and the bay leaf.
  6. Serve with crusty bread and Guernsey butter.

Variations include using all haricot beans, using 1lb of carrots instead of just two, using 1lb of onions instead of just one, adding in two potatoes and adding a bouquet garni with the bay leaf.

The vegetarian version is much the same but without the pig's trotter and using vegetable stock instead of beef.

last updated: 13/10/2008 at 11:09
created: 22/07/2004

You are in: Guernsey > Places > Local Recipes > Bean Jar

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