Beans - Types, Recipes and Definitions

Van Camp's Pork and Beans Vintage Ad

Van Camp's Pork and Beans Vintage Ad © 1912

One of the most nutritious foods that can be used; the varieties most used are the lima or butter bean, the white haricot or navy bean, the red and the black haricot, the flageolet or kidney bean.

LIMA BEANS BOILED—The dried beans are soaked in water for a few hours, then boiled till tender, drained, seasoned with salt, pepper and butter, or mixed with cream sauce. If canned beans are used they are first washed from their can liquor, then heated and seasoned as above; if fresh beans are used, they are put to boil in boiling water containing salt and a small piece of common washing soda; when done, drained, and seasoned as above.

LIMA BEANS Sauté—The beans either dried, fresh or canned are prepared up to the seasoning point of the preceding receipt, then placed in pan containing either small pieces of cooked bacon or salt pork, or just plain melted butter, then thoroughly tossed and heated in the pan, seasoned; sometimes they are sprinkled with finely chopped parsley before serving.

LIMA BEANS SALAD—Either dried, fresh or canned beans boiled till tender; when cold they are mixed with a cream, hollandaise or mayonnaise salad dressing and served on a bed of lettuce.

LIMA BEANS Purée—Soaked dried beans put to boil with a piece of salt pork in white stock containing onions, carrots, parsley, and whole mace; when cooked the pork and vegetables removed, the beans and stock rubbed through a fine sieve, then placed in a clean saucepan, brought to the boil, seasoned, a little flour and water thickening added to prevent coagulation; served with small toast.

LIMA BEANS, cream of—Equal parts of the finished purée of the preceding, and cream or vélouté sauce, made hot separate, then thoroughly mixed without further boiling.

FLAGEOLETS or kidney beans are obtainable in cans or in the dried state. The average patron does not know what a flageolet is, hence the call for them at table is small; but most people know what a kidney bean is, and if put on the bill of fare as such, the demand will be gratifying to the cook.

KIDNEY BEANS IN CREAM—Poulette, espagnole or vélouté sauces. The beans if canned, washed from the can liquor; if dried they are soaked, then boiled tender, drained and reheated in any of the four sauces above mentioned.

KIDNEY BEANS, GERMAN STYLE—Soaked, boiled and drained dried beans, or canned ones washed off, then heated and tossed in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper with a little summer savoury; a few salted herrings skinned boned and cut into small pieces, either mixed with the beans, or served as a garnish to them.

KIDNEY BEANS, FRENCH STYLE—Soaked, boiled and drained dried beans, or canned ones washed off, a little minced onion and garlic lightly fried in olive oil to a golden brown color, oil poured off, beans put in with some chopped parsley, tossed together with the onions, then moistened with vélouté sauce, brought to the boil, seasoned and served.

KIDNEY BEANS, ENGLISH STYLE— The cooked beans, seasoned with salt, pepper and butter, sprinkled with chopped parsley and served.

KIDNEY BEANS, PAN ACHES — The word panaches means mixed. Cold cooked kidney beans mixed with equal parts of cold cooked navy or lima beans, are heated with a little butter, and seasoned with salt, pepper, chopped parsley and served. Another mixture is made of equal parts of cold cooked string beans (green) and wax beans (yellow).

HARICOT BEANS, BOSTON STYLE—More often placed on the bill of fare as "baked pork and beans." The beans are washed and soaked over night; into the bean jar is put some black nolasses, salt, pepper and dry mustard, these are well mixed, cold water is then added to thin the mixture; the soaked beans now placed into the jar filling it two-thirds full, a piece of scored, or slices of salt pork is placed on top of the beans, jar filled with water, lid placed on, and put in a slow oven and baked till done; should be served with steamed brown bread.

Van Camp's Pork and Beans Vintage Ad

Van Camp's Pork and Beans Vintage Ad © 1920

The more common way, however, that pork and beans are cooked, is to soak them over night, place them on to boil in the morning, when at boiling point they are skimmed, and the salt pork put to boil with them, when done the pork removed and cut in slices, the beans put into pans, seasoned, sometimes colored with caramel, the slices of pork arranged on top of the beans, sprinkled with sugar and placed in the oven till browned.

HARICOT BEANS WITH BACON—The cold beans are nicely fried with butter or bacon fat, seasoned with salt and pepper with a little sage, then served with a slice of broiled bacon.

HARICOT BEANS Purée—Soaked beans put to boil with salt pork in white stock containing carrots, onions, celery or celery seed or salt, parsley and whole mace; when done the pork and vegetables removed, the beans and stock rubbed through a fine sieve, then placed in a clean saucepan, seasoned, a little flour and water thickening added to prevent coagulation, served with small toast.

HARICOT SOUP, FAMILY STYLE—Prepared same as the preceding, but instead of the beans being rubbed through a sieve, they are left whole in the soup, and the vegetables and pork cut up very small, returned to the soup and served with it, along with small toast.

BEAN Purée WITH ONIONS—Is the purée above but considerable onions boiled in the stock, and rubbed through the sieve with the beans, (called, purée of beans, 3 la Soubise).

HARICOT BEANS, CREAM SAUCE — Cold boiled haricot beans with a flavoring of salt pork, mixed into a white cream onion sauce, seasoned with nutmeg, made hot, but not re-boiled.

RED HARICOT BEANS—Are mostly used as a garniture to salt leg of boiled pork. They are soaked, boiled with the pork, drained, placed in a saucepan, white wine added, then reduced to a glaze with a ladle of consomme; served with the pork in conjunction with small glazed onions.

BLACK BEANS WITH RISSOTO—The beans soaked and boiled with bacon; when done, the bacon cut up small and mixed with the drained beans, then moistened with Spanish sauce, seasoned with anchovy butter, made hot again and served garnished with rissoto.

GREEN AND WAX BEANS—Are best suited for culinary use when served as a plain vegetable boiled in salted water with the cover of the saucepan OFF. The beans have the strings removed, then shred or cat across; when boiled, drained, moistened with a little consomme, and seasoned with salt, pepper and butter, (time of boiling 15 to 35 minutes according to age).

Broad Beans

Broad Beans are generally served too old, when their tough skins would tax the digestion of an ostrich.

Very young Broad Beans may be boiled in their pods, but this cannot be done after the pods have thickened and the flannel-like lining has appeared.

Broad Beans, even when young, are better without their skins.

They should be put on, shelled, in absolutely boiling water, and boiled till the skins crack, which will be in about twenty minutes. Salt should be added, but if too much is put in the Broad Beans will burst and spoil.

As soon as the skins crack lift out the Broad Beans, drain them, and rub off the skins in a warm dry cloth. They can then be tossed in butter and served, or heated in a good parsley-and-butter sauce. Or they can be passed through a sieve, and made into rather a stiff purée moistened with parsley and butter.

“Wyvern’s” Broad Beans à la Bourgeoise

Having boiled and skinned the Beans, turn them into a stewpan over a slow fire with a tablespoonful of fresh butter. Mix with them a tablespoonful of flour, and moisten with some of the water in which the Beans were boiled. Season with pepper and salt, and, when nice and creamy, serve.

Broad Beans with Custard Sauce

When the Beans are about three-parts grown shell enough of them to fill a quart measure to the brim. Put a half-gallon stewpan on the fire two-thirds filled with water, season this with a dessertspoonful of salt, and put into it half an ounce of fresh butter.

Let it come to the boil, then put in the beans, and boil them till the skin parts easily from the bean when pressed gently between the finger and thumb. Then drain them in a colander, saving the eau de cuisson in which they have been cooked, pour cold water over the beans, and then pinch them out of their skins.

Next, melt an ounce of butter in a quart stewpan, mix in, over a low fire, one ounce of flour, and when well cooked, yet not coloured, stir in by degrees three-quarters of a pint of the eau de cuisson.

Bring to the boil, take off the fire, add a coffee cupful of the broth into which three yolks of eggs have been mixed, stir well, put in the beans, and set the pan in the bain-marie. Warm up when required, but do not let the sauce boil.

Add a tablespoonful of minced chervil and parsley, and serve as hot as possible in a very hot dish.

It is difficult to judge the quantity of salt required in boiling Broad Beans, as so much depends upon their age. Half an ounce of salt to two quarts of water is the usual allowance.

French Beans

These Beans are eaten in two stages of their existence, first as French Beans, when quite young, with tender pods and seeds unformed; and in the second as Flageolets, when the seeds are nearly ripe.

French Beans are at their best when young enough to eat untouched except by boiling. Stringing them then lets out the flavor. But stringing—that is, peeling off the fiber or string which goes all round the pod—is necessary when the French Beans are not very young.

It is a great mistake to slice them. When strung, plunge them into plenty of boiling water, which has been only slightly salted. The pan must not be tinned.

Let the French Beans boil quickly in the uncovered pan till they sink to the bottom. When they are tender, drain them only slightly, as a little of the eau de cuisson is an improvement.

They ought to be tender enough to break when butter, if used, is stirred in at the last moment. For a second-course dish cream can be added to the butter, but it makes a rich dish and must be used with judgment. Serve the dish very hot.

French Beans can be cooked in a variety of ways, but surely it is a mistake to conceal their own flavor by adding onion, parsley, or cheese. They are, however, very good when served with a tablespoonful of maître d’hôtel butter, stirred into them just at the last, or sautés.

French Beans Sautés

After the French Beans are boiled turn them into a sauté-pan with just enough butter to moisten them, stir gently over a slow fire and let them absorb the butter, dust a very little salt over them, and serve.

Stewed French Beans

This is the best method when French Beans are no longer quite young, and for this one dish they should be cut across in diamonds. Put the French Beans in a buttered stewpan, add a very little salt, and just cover them with broth.

Stew them very slowly, and add a little broth now and then. When tender drain the French Beans, lay them on a hot dish, thicken the broth with half an ounce of butter and the yolk of an egg, and pour it over them.

French Beans Panachés or Variegated

For this dish the young pods and the nearly ripened Beans are cooked together. Take a pint of half-ripe Beans, shell them, throw the pods into boiling salted water and boil to extract the flavor.

Strain the water, boil it up again, put in the shelled Beans, and add a quarter of a peck of quite young French Beans, strung but not sliced. Boil these and the shelled Beane together, and they will be both done at the same time if the Beans are only half ripe.

Drain, serve in a hot dish, and hand melted butter. Another way is to boil pods and beans separately, then toss each of them in butter, and after that mix them together in a hot dish.


These are the beans of the Dwarf or French Bean when the pods are old and tough, and the beans themselves three-parts grown. Flageolets are too often neglected in England, and when imported are even supposed to be a vegetable peculiar to foreign countries.

Gardeners should be induced to sow French Beans in succession and in sufficient quantity to allow a supply to be reserved for Flageolets. Flageolets should be shelled and boiled, or steamed in the jar like peas, only omitting the mint. They are good finished like French Beans in the sauté-pan.

White Haricot Beans

These again, so common in France, are hardly known here except in their dried state. They are the beans of the Climbing Bean or Scarlet Runner allowed to ripen in the pod. They come in during October. These Beans should be cooked like Flageolets, but they need more boiling. They can be served with a little of the water they were cooked in, with a pat of butter stirred in at the last.

This eau de cuisson can be much strengthened by boiling the pods in a separate pan and adding the water to that in which the Bean were boiled.

Mrs. C. W. Earle’s Method of Preserving French Beans and Scarlet Runners

Mrs. Earle preserves these when young, eating the old ones fresh. The French Beans, which are much more delicate in flavor than the Scarlet Runners, are kept in a separate pan. The beans are picked almost daily, and laid as they are brought in in large earthenware uncovered pans, a handful of beans and then a handful of salt till the pans are full. They must not be allowed to get touched by frost.

Mrs. Earle adds : “ I have eaten them, preserved in this way, all through the winter. I believe this is done everywhere abroad, but never in England, where the waste, both in the kitchen and the garden, is, as we all acknowledge, a national vice. When wanted, the Beans are taken out, well-soaked (to prevent their being too “salt), boiled in the ordinary way, either cut up or whole, then drained, and warmed up in fresh butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a little chopped parsley on the top. They can also be cooked with a white cream sauce. I think these salted beans have more flavor than the tinned ones, or than those that come from Madeira in the winter.”

In the South of France French Beans are gathered when ripe, strung into the shape of large wreaths, and dried in the sun. But this cannot be done here. When French Beans are in perfection in England the sun is not powerful enough to dry them, and if dried indoors they only wither and decay.

Preserved Flageolets for Second Course

Blanch half a pound of green flageolet beans in boiling salt and water. Drain them after five minutes’ boiling, and give them a douche of cold water from the tap, and drain this off.

Let the Flageolets cool while you fry two ounces of finely-minced onion in an ounce of butter over a low fire till turning brown. Then put in the Flageolets, turn them about with the butter and onions for a minute, and moisten with warm broth and tomato pulp in equal proportions sufficient to cover them.

Simmer now gently till the Flageolets are tender, skimming off the butter as it rises. Lastly, stir in two tablespoonfuls of grated Parmesan, and serve with short-paste biscuits.

Haricot Beans

These beans, the dried and matured beans of the pods eaten in a green state as Scarlet Runners, ought to be far more used than is at present the case, for they are very nutritious and extremely wholesome. The kind known as the White Soissons should be selected.

Haricots need to be soaked in cold water for many hours ; twelve, sixteen, even twenty-four hours are often required, and plenty of water must be used.

When the Haricots have been sufficiently soaked drain them well, and put them on in enough cold salted water to cover them. Let them boil gradually, and after they have come to the boil draw the pan to the side of the fire and let the Haricots simmer slowly till they are perfectly soft. This process may take from two to three hours.

Be careful not to add more salt, or the beans will crack. When they are cooked, strain them in a colander, and they can then be served in various ways. The water in which Haricot beans have been boiled and stewed is full of nourishment; it is probably the best form of eau de cuisson. It may even be used for the broth called croûtes au pot, when meat is disliked, and it makes the best basis for mulligatawny.

Haricots in Gravy

Soak a pint of Haricots as above, then stew them slowly for two hours in broth, and serve with a clear gravy.

Or lay a pint of well soaked and boiled Haricots in the gravy of a leg or a shoulder of roast mutton. In this case Sir Henry Thompson says that with a good supply of the gravy from the joint, and a little salt and pepper, some persons think that “ the Haricots are by no means the worst part of the mutton.”

Haricots with Butter

When thoroughly cooked and strained put the Haricots in a pan with an ounce of butter, and two tablespoonfuls of melted butter which has been mixed with broth. Add salt and pepper, the juice of half a lemon, and one teaspoonful of minced parsley. Toss one pint of beans in this till they are well mixed and quite hot.

Haricots may be served à la maître d’hôtel by stirring them, when quite soft, into half a pint of good parsley-and- butter sauce to one pint of Haricots.

Haricots are excellent when sent up straight from the fire with an ounce of butter melting over them, and the beans themselves covered with minced parsley and well dusted with black pepper and salt. A little grated cheese can be added.

French cooks make a good dish of French Beans and dried Haricots cooked separately, drained, mixed together with an ounce or so of butter, minced parsley, salt and pepper, tossed in the santé-pan, and served very hot.

A Basque recipe for White Haricots is to add to them, after cooking and draining, the flesh of two or three sardines pounded up with butter, a drop of garlic, and chopped shallot.

Season with salt, pepper, and one or two sliced gherkins, sauter well and turn out into a very hot dish. Put the stewpan back on the Are, add a cupful of eau de cuisson and a teaspoonful of vinegar, boil it up, and pour over the Haricots.

Haricots are much improved in flavor if a two-ounce onion, two ounces of carrot, and half an ounce of celery can be cooked with them. A purée of Haricots may be mixed with a smooth purée of onion, either white or brown. Or small pieces of fried bacon may be scattered among the stewed Haricots.

“ Wyvern’s ” Haricot Beans

Soak a pint of Haricots for twelve hours, drain, and put them into a stewpan with a thick slice of lean bacon, a four-ounce onion cut into quarters, half an ounce of celery, one of carrot sliced, and a teaspoonful of dried herbs tied up in muslin.

Season with a quarter of an ounce of salt, and half that quantity of pepper. Cover with three pints of lukewarm water, bring once to the boil, and simmer gently till the beans are tender but not broken. Now turn the Haricots out on a sieve till wanted.

Strain off the water into a bowl, and pick out the vegetables and muslin bag. Make a roux in a stewpan with an ounce of butter and of flour, stir in by degrees a pint of the water in which the beans were boiled ; boil, skim, and add two tablespoonfuls of grated cheese and a gill of tomato purée. Pass all through a hair sieve.

Arrange the beans on a fire-proof dish, moisten with the sauce, dot a few bits of butter over the surface, dust over with grated cheese, and heat thoroughly in the oven.

This dish is excellent, and most nourishing. Excellent Dried Green Peas are now imported from Italy, and sold under the name of Piuelli Verdi. They can be procured at any first-rate Italian warehouse, such as Messrs. De Castro, 66 Piccadilly.

They are not so nourishing as Haricot Beans, but they are particularly good as soup, or as a purée, or cooked in any of the ways recommended for Haricots. They require a little Spinach coloring, and the addition of a little mint. These dried Peas are infinitely more palatable than the sort generally sold for feeding pigeons, making pea-soup on board ship, or for the dry Pease-pudding served with pork.

Lentils can be cooked like Haricots, but they have little flavor.

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