About the author

Originally from London, I moved to Poland to absorb as much of the culture as humanly posssible. Maybe the biggest influence on me has been the food and I credit my adopted babcia, (Polish for grandmother) Ania, with much of the information here. I lived in Zielona Gora and Szklarska Poreba which are in the west and south-west of Poland respectively.
Please feel free to leave any comments, contact me at polishrecipes@gmail.com or visit my other site An Englishman in Poland

Friday, 24 April 2009

Fasolka po bretońsku recipe - baked bean and meat stew

Mr Bean is still very popular in Poland. I initially learnt the Polish word for bean, fasola, because it is called Jaś Fasola or John Bean and there were a few jokes made since my name is John and I come from England....I guess it was one of those jokes which did not translate well!
Anyway I thought this dish was called 'beans in a British style' for ages because I mistranslated bretonsku and got really excited for some reason whenever it popped up. Breton beans are a more accurate translation and Bretons are a group associated more with France but do have a history intertwined with England (More information on Bretons). Furthermore baked beans are an integral part of British cuisine so I still have a right to get excited about this dish as a Polish version of what I had on toast, on jacket potatoes and part of fried breakfast for years.
The Polish version has meat (usually pork, sausage-kielbasa, or bacon-Boczek) which adds an extra dimension of flavour and so is also known as a cheap meat and bean stew ideally suited for students. It is quite easy to get bored of the English baked beans on toast so this is a more flexible (and healthier) alternative.
It is a good idea to make this in larger quantities, it can always be frozen.

What you need
  • Large white beans (A large pot full or around a kilogram, dry)
  • Pork/bacon (boczek is fattier and gives more taste but you can use leaner pork) 3/4kg
  • Polish sausage (kielbasa) 1/2kg
  • Large onion (1)
  • Tomato ketchup (2tbsp)
  • Tomato paste (1 tbsp)
  • Flour (2 tbsp)
  • Vegeta (basically just a seasoning of different spices/herbs/vegetables)
  • Salt and pepper, paprika, oregano

What you do

  1. Soak the beans (dry sort) overnight in plenty of water.
  2. Throw away any beans that float on the surface
  3. Add generous amount of vegetta seasoning to the water and beans (keep same water that beans soaked in overnight). Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about hour and half (do not overcook)
  4. To make the sauce dice the onion and brown in a large pan with some oil, vegeta spices, salt and pepper.
  5. Dice pork and add to pan with some more spices/seasoning and paprika. Stir and cook on low heat for 5mins or so depending on size of meat.
  6. Dice kielbasa, add to pan and stir. Leave on low heat for about 1/2 hour to 3/4 hour. Add extra water to prevent meat burning.
  7. Check beans by trying. Most likely need longer than sauce in pan.
  8. Take pan off heat after 3/4 hour and stir in ketchup and tomato paste (ensure after taking pan off heat)
  9. Add mixture in pan to beans and water in pot and stir thoroughly.
  10. Season to taste, add oregano (perhaps 1/2 tbsp).
  11. Thicken by mixing flour and water in cup and then adding to pot
  12. Cover and heat for 5 mins after thorough stir
  13. Serve with fresh bread

But I found these in a local supermarket so it looks like Heinz have infiltrated the market with their over-sugared chemical version here also.


damian said...

Hi just to let you know that boczek translates better as smoked or cooked bellypork and tomato pure(przecier pomidorowy) is better than ketchup thats all hope you enjoy polish cousine:) smacznego

Alicja said...

Nice site. Fasolka po bretonsku is one of my favorite dishes, could eat it every day! I also have family in Zielona Gora, hope you are loving Poland and enjoying what I feel is the best and most varied cuisine in the world.I agree with Damian,do not use ketchup, rather a good tomato puree, add a daash of majoram and some good paprika and you're set.some versions also call for mushrooms, this is always optional.Smacznego!

Halyna said...

My friend makes me fasolka po bretonsku regularly, and I want to surprise her and make her some one day. Your recipe looks really authentic, and my stomach started rumbling when I looked at the picture. I think that's a good sign!

My friend also uses tomato purée and marjoram. At least I assume it's tomato purée, the label is in Polish...

Josh Kingdom said...

Love the site. I'm quite similar to you. I'm an American in Poland, have been for 6 years who adores the culture and cuisine.

Rob Johnson said...

Great food sensory!