I met a little lady, like me, of a certain age at the Grand Frais the other day while searching fruitlessly for dried chilli peppers. She was standing in front of some beautiful fresh, cranberry beans, feeling each bean in each pod before adding it to her bag.
I usually buy fresh beans at the market but these were truly gorgeous so, well trained by the French in market etiquette, I stepped behind her, centered my body over my feet and gazed serenely, though somewhat vacantly at some Italian beans on the side. Waiting my turn.
She: Am I in your way?
Me: Not at all, I’ve got plenty of time. I’m retired.
The lady went on to explain to me that the reason it was taking so long, was that one could be seriously ripped off buying fresh bean pods that weren’t absolutely full. I told her that these beans looked better than the market beans and that she had a good chance of getting full pods.
She: I rarely go to the Sens market, nor do I come to Grand Frais often. The market always seem so full and busy that I feel uncomfortable. In addition, I live all the way in Rosoy (4 miles away).
Me: You might like the Pont sur Yonne market. That’s spread out in the town center and not so congested as the covered markets.
She: Oh no! Pont sur Yonne (11 miles)! That’s really far!
Her husband who was waiting patiently on the side, as was mine, entered the conversation with a deadpan expression but irrepressible twinkle in his eye.
He: That’s definitely a weekend trip.
Made my day😀
I didn’t actually cook the beans in my small cassoule but I could have, just couldn’t be bothered They were excellent says M. Parret who knows excellence when he tastes it😀
I love fresh beans! I began with a handful of lardons and just let the spirit take me. Couldn’t go wrong😉
Cassoule des Haricots
1/2 cup lardons or bacon, diced
2 knobs of butter
2 leeks, halved vertically and thinly sliced
2 small celery branches, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 vegetable bouillon cubes(Maggi)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
3 lbs unshelled fresh beans, shelled
Water to cover
Brown the lardons in a skillet, then remove and set aside. Melt the butter in the skillet, add the leeks and celery and saute until soft. Stir in the reserved lardons, oregano, tomatoes, bouillon cubes, pepper and salt. Add the beans and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.