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Nothing in my 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. I have enjoyed it ever since. All us Yankee Chefs have stood by one recipe through the years, only making Swagan with 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 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 two generations before me. So if anyone rolls their eyes because this isn't a gourmet ingredient so what!

Bean Swagan

  • 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 crock pot 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 the following:

  • 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.



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