Feb 24, 2013

Legs and Legumes

My kitchen concoctions are often born from a game of pantry roulette.  Inventory what's on hand, run some possible dinner combos in my noggin, then grease the skillet and go. 

We eat beans often, several times a week and mostly from a can.  While cans are quick, the high amount of sodium packed in there's a bore.  Plus cancer-linked BPA, and do you reckon traces of metal leach in?  I think so, sometimes I taste metal. 

So I'm weaning off cans in favor of fresh or dried. 

Beans, beans the magical fruit do a body good.  A single serving wallops 15 grams of protein and 50% of daily fiber.  Iron and calcium too, complex carbs, fatless and tasty on the tongue.  A one pound pack of dried beans costs a buck and cooks into 6 cups.  That's a great deal. 

 A quick cabinet scan showed a cache of dried mixed beans, chicken drumsticks in the freezer and a four-pack of fresh root vegetables.  A quiet Saturday afternoon afforded a multi-hour Dutch oven slow cook.  Here's how I did legs and legumes this weekend, serves six. 

  • 6 bird legs or a pair of bone-in breasts
  • 8 oz. of dried mixed soup beans
  • Veggies of your choice, I did 8 carrots, 6 small red potatoes, 2 yellow onions and a half doz' garlic cloves
  • 1 can of chicken broth, select the fat-free low sodium option
  • Slices of butter and olive oil
  • Your favorite spices, I went with S&P, powdered garlic, dried mustard, cumin seeds, ground thyme, turmeric, poultry seasoning and cayenne pepper
  • Extra credit for a swig of apple juice and red wine for a rich bottom end

Dry beans are needy, cover with cold water and soak overnight to wake 'em up.  They'll triple in size by morning (twss), rinse and they're ready to go.

Cast iron is best, I ovened the multi-pound Dutch on 300 to get it ready. 

Chop the potatoes, carrots and onions in large quarters.  They'll turn to mush if you go too small, so cut them a bit larger than bite sized. 

Gas the Dutch on high on the cooktop.  When smoking add olive oil and butter, then the potatoes.

Sear the veg's in small batches so the iron stays hot.  When brown, remove the taters, pour a tad more oil and butter, then sizzle the carrots.

Repeat on the onions and garlic, finally the chicken legs.

Everything out of the pot, keep the heat and layer on beans, coat with spices, add the veg's, spices, chicken on top and a final crop dust of spice.  A shot of apple juice and red wine, cover and roast in the oven on 300 for three hours. 

Check at three hours.  It'll be soupy, so remove the lid and boil off the liquid for 30 minutes to thicken and add a crust to the legs.

Beans absorb the wine and spice cocktail, root vegetables softened and chicken with a crunch on the outside, pull-from-the-bone tender inside.  Curls said the sauce tastes like gravy, without the blubber.

Pairs well with red wine, 1%, a candle and loved ones.  Enjoy!



  1. Mmmm. I'm slowly weanin' off the canned beans as well. I do keep some on hand, but I've been cooking dried much more frequently than in the past. I've discovered I can throw a soaked bag in the crock pot with enough water to cover, then walk away. Yields enough beans to fill whatever my belly may desire. Either all for a main dish, or throughout the week. Good stuff. They freeze well too - if you don't think you'll get through 'em all.

    1. Do you presoak overnight before the crockpot or toss in dry?

    2. I read recently about crockpots being dangerous to cook in because of lead being in the glaze of the cooking bowl. I am too worried about that now to use it as lead is difficult for our bodies to get rid of. Here is where I read about it initially.


    3. We grew up on crockpot meals, leaded glaze, now THAT explains a lot.

  2. Sounds yum ! Do you have any other bean recipes.you'd be willing to share? Especially any vegetarian ones?

    1. Hands down, this is an absolute favorite of mine:


    2. Sometimes I'll hand-mash a batch of cooked black beans, form them into a patty with caramelized onion and spices, then brown on hot oil for a meatless burger. Also like bean and cheese 'dillas, plus meat mixes such as ham and beans or pulled chicken and beans in corn or flour tortillas.

  3. This looks fantastic!

  4. Debbie2/25/2013

    another good dutch oven dinner w/ beans (i also brown some onions to begin & add some diced carrot towards the end & baby spinach way at the end just for some more veg).

    Slow Cooker Glazed Pork Ribs with White Beans

    1 cup dried Great Northern beans (8 ounces)
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    3 garlic cloves, smashed
    One 6-inch rosemary sprig plus 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds), cut into 3-rib sections
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon honey
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    In a slow cooker or dutch oven, combine the beans with the broth, tomatoes, wine, garlic, rosemary sprig and 1 tablespoon of the tomato paste. Nestle the ribs into the beans, cover and cook on low until the ribs are tender, about 3 hours. Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Continue to cook the beans on low for 3 hours longer, until tender. Discard the rosemary sprig and skim off as much fat as possible.

    Shortly before serving, preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with the balsamic vinegar and honey. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and set them on a baking sheet, meaty side up. Brush with the balsamic glaze and broil the ribs about 3 inches from the heat for about 3 minutes, rotating if necessary, until browned and heated through. Cut into individual ribs.

    Stir the chopped rosemary into the beans and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the beans into shallow bowls, top with the glazed ribs and serve.

    1. Mouth is watering, I'll give her a try, thanks!

  5. Not a big fan of beans, but I could totally go for this with all of the root veggies!

    1. It is the farts that you don't care for.

  6. Thanks for the meal planning, sir! Will have that dish ready when our dad returns from your part of the globe end of the week :-)
    (I wondered about "Dutch oven", till I saw a photo of one...it's our very own "swartpot"! Obviously then introduced here by the Dutch ancestors way back when. We love it, my dad had whole ranges: flat-bottomed and round-bottomed, with and without legs from sugar pot size to feeding-one-hundred.

    1. Google Dutch oven and you'll learn it has other meanings.


    2. Oh my word! Ok, didn't know that :-D

  7. Anonymous2/25/2013

    There is nothing like pressure cooking the beans in pressure cooker. you can skip the whole soaking-over-night thing

    1. As a boy, I remember mom's pressure cooker snorting steam and making PHFSSS! sounds. Had forgotten about that until you mentioned it, those long ago memories.

    2. I had to replace my slow cooker recently and went with a combo slow cooker, pressure cooker from Breville. Sure, it is expensive but I learned many years ago to go with the better tool if I'm going to use it and I use the slow cooker a ton. This tool adds a nice option of pressure cooking those beans when I'm running late. We love our beans and have them quite often (followed by a dose of 'after dinner mints' or the green gas-x pills). Recipe sounds great and I'll give it a go with the chicken breasts as we do not like dark meat for eating. I use it a lot to make my own chicken stock.

  8. About 5 years ago I stopped buying canned beans and went to cooking my own. I've tried EVERY way to cook beans (at least, I think I have), and I have never noticed a difference in cooking time or flatulence (just keepin' it real) with presoaking. I just throw the beans on the stove in the evening after dinner and loosely keep and eye on them, but I hardly do anything stirring or checking. I like to cook 3 pounds at a time and then portion the cooked beans into freezer baggies...then I've got beans for a month or two all ready to go. Also, a tip I learned a while back... don't salt the beans until the end of the cooking process... makes them a little bit tough. I think a pressure cooker is a good idea, but I never use mine to cook beans because it isn't big enough to cook a few pounds of beans, and I figure if I'm going to spend the time cooking beans, I want to cook a lot!

    1. Great time saver, how long does it take to cook them fart seeds when you don't presoak?

  9. Making this tomorrow, beans are soaking now. I'm using boneless, skinless thighs as that's what I have. I hope it's epic. The bone sometimes seems to make a difference in moisture and cooking time.


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!