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Bean Swagan
By Jim Bailey, a.ka. "The Yankee Chef"

Nothing in my cooking repertoire says "Yankee, comfort and home" quite like
Bean Swagan. It was the very first dish Dad ever taught me (behind biscuits) to
make when I was 14 and have enjoyed it ever since.

All us Yankee chefs have stood by one recipe for Bean Swagan through all the
years:  making Swagan with just beans, ham, ketchup and water. That's it!

So what do I do? Now that my mentors are gone, I am "Yanking" this thick soup,
by adding some great sausage I get from
Beansmeats.com and a vegetable or
two.

If you prefer not to add ketchup, use tomato sauce instead. But I find the spices
in ketchup fit perfectly with recipe, as did the two Yankee generations before me.

So, if anyone rolls their eyes because this isn't a gourmet ingredient, I say, "so
what!"

2 cups dried Great Northern Beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup diced carrots
1 link cooked, sweet or hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt and black pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

Remove casing from sausage. Add sausage to a large skillet, placed over
medium high heat, and cook and stir until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove sausage from skillet, without the grease and place in a small crock pot,
turned on high. Add vegetable broth, carrots and onion and bring to a boil,
covered. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 hours or until beans are
soft and broken. Simply stir in ketchup and season to taste, garnish with parsley
if desired and serve immediately.

Stove top method:
Follow instructions for crock pot but brown and cook the sausage in a pot you
will be cooking the Swagan in. You will also need to stir it frequently to prevent
scorching on bottom. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for about 1
hour, uncovered, until beans are very soft. We covered the crockpot only
because I don't like leaving anything uncovered while not at home. If at home,
certainly do not put the cover on.

A great "mix-in" for Bean Swagan is:

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup creme fraiche

In a coffee grinder, or with mortar and pestle (but who has one of those now-a-
days?) grind the fennel seeds and dried thyme to powder. Mix in with creme
fraiche.


About the author: Jim Bailey is The Yankee Chef™. Bailey is a third generation chef, a
New England food historian and food columnist. His first in a series of cookbooks is due
out in January of 2013, titled The Yankee Chef. He would love to hear from anyone about
their old family recipes. Email Jim Bailey any questions or comments:
theyankeechef@aol.com.
The Heart of New England
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