White Bean Potato & Sorrel Soup

  • Spring is upon us, though it is still cold.
  • Sorrel started to grow in my pots a few weeks ago – the first green to grow in my herbs.
  • I saw this recipe, which used rocket and thought I could use sorrel.
  • It is delicious.


  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks – finely chopped
  • 300g salad potatoes – eg Charlottes – cut into small pieces
  • 1 litre chicken stock – can be from concentrate, cube or powder
  • 1 can white beans – butter, cannellini or haricot – drained
  • 50 – 100g sorrel leaves – chopped
  • 50g of butter
  • Salt & pepper


  • In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter.
  • Add the onions and celery and cook on a low heat.
  • Stir occasionally and cook for around 10 minutes.
  • Add the potato chunks and season with salt.
  • Cook for about 5minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock.
  • Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
  • Check with a knife that it slices easily through the potatoes.
  • Add the beans and cook for around 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add the chopped sorrel, stir well and serve.

Over the Moon – Beans

  • Butter Beans – Phaseolus lunatus – are also known as Lima beans  as they originally came from Peru and Lima is the capital city.
  • Phaseolus lunatus – means beans shaped like a crescent moon.
  • The Polish name –  Fasola pȯłksiężycowata  – also means beans shaped like a crescent moon.
  • This is a very old recipe for butter beans.
  • The dried beans would have been soaked overnight before being boiled till soft and then used to make this dish.
  • Nowadays you can use tinned butter beans to quickly make this delicious dish.

The recipe calls for a large amount of butter – do not skimp on this!


  • 2 tins of butter beans, drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 125g of butter
  • Large handful of fresh flat leaved parsley – chopped
  • Salt to taste


  • Melt the butter gently in a large deep frying pan.
  • Gently fry the onions till soft and golden – do not brown.
  • Add the butter beans and simmer, stirring occasionally till they are soft.
  • Use a potato masher to lightly break up the beans.
  • Add some of the parsley and stir.
  • Serve with the rest of the parsley sprinkled on top.


Served in a dish by J&G Meakin – Cadiz – 1964 – 1970

Butter Bean Mash

Butter beans are so soft and creamy – this is one of my favourite recipes for them – I often serve this instead of mashed potatoes.

This is one of my storecupboard recipes as I use tinned butter beans to make this.








Of course you can use dried beans, soaking and cooking them in your usual way.


2 tins of butter beans

1 large or 2 small onions

2-3 cloves of garlic

250ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from cubes or powder)

Butter for frying the onions.

Salt & pepper

Chopped chives or flat-leaved parsley to serve.


A deep, large frying pan is good for making this.

Chop the onion into small squares and fry gently in butter until they are soft and golden brown.

Chop the garlic and add this to the onions, stirr and heat for a minute.

Drain the beans from the tins and add these to the onions.

Cover with stock and simmer gently until the beans are soft.

Use a potato masher to mash the beans and onions.

Cook for a few minutes longer – cooking away an excess liquid.



You can put this into an oven proof dish into a low oven at this stage whilst you finish off the rest of the meal.

Garnish with chives or flat-leaved parsley to serve.

Serve instead of potatoes with meats or other cooked vegetable dishes.




Served here with pan fried pork loin and cooked red cabbage on

Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 – 1988

White Bean Salads

Having tried out this new honey dressing with a potato salad, I thought I would use it with white beans – the result was super!

Honey Dressing


2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of runny honey

1 tablespoons of white wine or cider vinegar

1 tablespoons of made-up mustard

Salt & ground black pepper

Large handful of chopped dill


Mix all the ingredients except the dill in a jug or bowl with a little whisk.

Stir in the dill.

Salad Ingredients – 1

1 tin of butter beans or  Canellinni (white kidney) beans – drained

1 onion – finely chopped

1 eating apple – pink skinned eg Pink lady,  rough chopped including the skin

Handfull of chopped dill to serve.




Mix all the salad ingredients together,except for the dill, in a bowl.

Pour the dressing over the salad.

Mix the salad with the dressing.

The salad is best made several hours before serving to let the dressing infuse into the beans.  I often leave it overnight.

Add the extra dill just before serving.

Salad Ingredients – 2

1 tin of butter beans or  Canellinni (white kidney) beans

1 red onion – finely chopped.

1 red pepper – cut into strips and then across – to give rough squares.

Handfull of chopped dill to serve.




Mix all the salad ingredients together, except for the dill,  in a bowl.

Pour the dressing over the salad.

Mix the salad with the dressing.

The salad is best made several hours before serving to let the dressing infuse into the beans.  I often leave it overnight.

Add the extra dill just before serving.


I have found that some tinned butter beans are better than others  – you can improve the absorption of the dressing by:

  • either tipping the beans into a saucepan,  adding some water and heating them up for several minutes, then leaving them to go cold.
  • or  pricking through the skins with a cocktail stick or similar.

Polish Beans – American Style

I believe this recipe is very popular in America and I think it is a sort of second generation recipe which is made up from memories of  dishes from Poland and some adaptations using local ingredients.

I feel this is a blend of two previous bean recipes Beans – po Staropolsku (in an old Polish style) which has a lot of sweetness using prunes and honey and Breton beans with tomato sauce.   Here the sweetness is from maple syrup (I still had some from my friend who now lives in Canada – so thought of her as when making this).


Note – these quantities do not have to be exact.

200 -300g kielbasa – Polish sausage

200 – 300g smoked bacon

400 – 500g minced beef

2 small onions

4 large tins of different beans (butter beans, canellini, haricot, red kidney etc) – some recipes say that using some butter beans is a must!

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 tablespoon of made-up mustard

1 tablespoon of wine or cider vinegar

250ml maple syrup

Ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying


Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C

Drain the beans and place then into an ovenproof dish with a lid.

Chop the onions into small pieces and fry them up in a little oil.

Chop the bacon into small pieces and add these to the onions and fry them together.

Slice and chop the sausage and add this to the onions and bacon.

Add the minced meat  to the mixture and fry this up for a few minutes.

Add this mixture to the beans in the dish.

Mix in the tomato puree, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup and black pepper.

Put the lid on the dish.

Cook for around 3 hours in the oven until the beans are soft.



This is suitable for making in a slow cooker.

This can be eaten as a dish on its own or served with bread.



Bean Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z fasoli  – cutlets from beans.

The word kotlety(plural) comes from the Italian word cotoletta(singular) for cutlet or chop.

Phaseolus vulgaris, common bean, originated from Central and South America, where it was cultivated as early as 6,000 BC in Peru and 5,000 in Mexico.  it was introduced to the Old World by the Spanish and the Portuguese.

It is a legume which means it is a plant that has its seeds contained in a shell or pod.

Most of the recipes in my books use dried beans and they are prepared by soaking them overnight and then boiling them for the required amount of time.

For ease I usually use tinned beans.

You can use haricot beans (wash off the sauce from baked beans), cannellini (white kidney) beans, butter beans and many others.


2 tins of beans

1 onion

butter for frying the onion

1 teaspoon of mixed herbs or Italian herbs

1 egg

1 – 2 tablespoons of potato flour

Dried breadcrumbs

Salt & ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying


Chop the onion into small pieces and gently fry in butter.

Leave to cool completely.






Rinse and drain the beans from the tins.



Pat the beans dry with kitchen roll or a clean tea towel.

Mash the beans until you have a thick smooth paste.


Add the onions and the mixed herbs.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add the potato flour to make the mixture thick.

Add salt & ground black pepper

Cover a plate or board with dried breadcrumbs.

Make flattened balls from the mixture – coating them on all sides with breadcrumbs.

Fry the fritters in hot sunflower oil.


They can be kept warm in the oven whilst you cook them in batches.

They can be reheated in the oven at GM5 – 190°C – for around 15 minutes.

Bean Fritters with Peppers & Chilli

This is a variation on the above recipe – to the mixture as above you add – 2 chopped peppers & 1-2 medium chillies or 2-3 small chillies, which have all been softened by gently frying in some butter and then added to the onion mixture. You can also add some chilli flakes.



Continue as above



Both versions of these fritters go well with a crisp salad, salsa or a sauce such as tomato or mushroom.  They also go well with meat dishes in a sauce  such as gulasz, pulpety or chicken casserole.