We're having yet another snow event this morning in northern Pennsylvania. Arthur is enjoying a two-hour delay to the start of school and he's immersed in his new apple growing book. (The call just came that school is closed today!)
Our contribution to the recent potluck growers' event last weekend was a pot of baked bird egg beans. The seeds for these beans (similar to French Horticultural Beans) have been saved year to year since they were introduced to this Pennsylvania farm by the Gooch family from West Virginia when two Gooch siblings married two Metzger siblings in the 1940s.
I enjoy introducing others to these tasty beans that are a favorite of our whole family. They're shell beans that we've grown on fences the past few years, though they also do well twining near the ground. The sturdy plants put out colorful pink and green pods filled with 6 - 10 fat beans that are beautifully speckled – burgundy and cream colored.
They're blanched briefly and then frozen. The family enjoys them cooked with a generous amount of butter in the cooking water, served with salt rising bread.
We've been experimenting with other ways of using them and I modified the following recipe from one of the Moosewood cookbooks.
1 large chopped onion
4 chopped garlic cloves (mine came Wooleylot Farm right here in Potter County)
2 Tb. olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green or red peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 qt. jar home-canned tomatoes
1 Tb. maple syrup (could also use honey, brown sugar or molasses if you prefer)
1 Tb. Dijon mustard
4 cups cooked bird egg beans
Saute the onions, garlic, celery and peppers in the oil for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the seasonings and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, maple syrup, mustard and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and transfer to a baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees until some of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.