A distant relative of clay vessels that other cultures have used for centuries, such as Morocco’s cone-shaped tagine and Spain’s lidded cazuelas, bean pots can be found anywhere from retail stores to garage sales to online auctions. Most bean pots are made of ceramic, clay or cast iron, and their unique shapes, sizes and decorative designs have made them quite the collector’s item. Bean pots have thick, wide and rounded sides with a tapered base and narrow mouth — a construction that allows slow cooking without burning.
In the U.S., bean pots traditionally have been used to prepare dried beans. New Englanders and Bostonians in particular would use the bean pot to make Boston baked beans for Saturday dinner — inspiring Boston’s nickname “Bean Town.”
But don’t let its name fool you: The bean pot can be a multifunctional fixture in the kitchen. From stews and soups to roasts, grains, breads and even cakes, using a bean pot is a healthy and cost-effective way to prepare foods. Slowcook tougher cuts of beef with sweet potatoes, or try chicken with rice, a roasted root vegetable medley or cinnamon and brown sugar roasted apples. The options and combinations are limitless.
Bean Pot Chicken with Wild Rice and Toasted Pine Nuts
Developed by Sara Haas
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup white wine
½ onion, diced
Salt and pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 lemon, zested, sliced
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the rice, broth, wine and onions in the bottom of the bean pot. Top with chicken breasts and lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
Remove chicken from the pot and test doneness with a food thermometer. Chicken is cooked when internal temperature has reached 165°F. Hold and keep warm.
Return the pot with rice to the oven, leave uncovered and bake an additional 15 minutes until rice is tender. When rice is cooked, drain any remaining liquid and stir in the lemon zest, pine nuts and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, remove and discard the skin. If desired, slice meat from the bone and serve on top of wild rice. Serves 4.
Serving Size: 1 chicken breast and ¾ cup rice.
Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 75mg; Sodium: 190mg
Carbohydrate: 39g; Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 2g
Mustard Pickle Baked Beans
Adapted from Bean By Bean: A Cookbook (Workman Publishing Company 2012) by Crescent Dragonwagon.
3 ½ cups dried yellow-eyed peas (such as soldiers) or white beans (such as navy beans)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra as needed
½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon freshly
Cracked black pepper
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon chili paste (such as Sriracha or harissa) or hot sauce
2 cups mustard pickles (sweet, not hot—also known as sweet giardaniera), cut into bite-size chunks
Light or dark brown sugar (optional)
- Rinse and soak beans overnight. Drain, then boil in water until almost tender, 1½ to 2 hours. Cool beans then drain, reserving cooking liquid. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Using a little oil, thoroughly grease the inside of a bean pot. Transfer beans to pot. Stir in remaining oil, salt, pepper, garlic and chili paste. Add just enough of the bean-cooking liquid to barely cover the beans (reserve the extra bean liquid).
- Lower heat to 250° F. Cover bean pot and bake for 5 hours until beans are tender, adding reserved bean cooking liquid (or boiling water) as necessary to keep the beans from drying out.
- Separate vegetables from pickling juice, and stir pickling juice into the beans — adding a little extra bean liquid if desired.
- Add brown sugar, ketchup or additional salt or chili paste to taste (optional). Cover and bake 2 hours.
- Remove lid, stir in pickled vegetables and bake uncovered for 1 hour or more until beans develop a nice crust. Serve hot.
- Serves 10 as a substantial side dish.
Serving Size: 1 cup
Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 700mg
Carbohydrate: 47g; Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 6g