Jersey bean crock (les pais au fou) is of course just called “Bean Crock” in Jersey. It is the local version of the Norman “cassoulet”.
Bean Crock is the traditional dish of Jersey and it is a healthy, filling and very tasty meal. There are many different recipes and each cook introduces some small variation to the recipe so please add your own recipe tips in the comments section at the end of this post.
One thing that is constant in all Bean Crock recipes is that they are made with beans and meat or a meat substitute and slow cooked in a covered pot.
Jersey Bean Crock is a delicious, wholesome, traditional, bean-based dish made in a crock pot. The crock pot is an earthen ware pot with a lid in which the ingredients would cook slowly. Talk to any Jersey man (or woman) about what actually goes into a bean crock and you could wait until the (Jersey) cows come home before you get a consensus.
In the past Jersey Bean Crock was so popular English visitors believed that the people of Jersey ate nothing else and called Jersey people Jersey beans.
This name can be considered an insult, but a Jersey primary school French coursebook “Salut Jersey” featured two beans Haricot and Mangetout so its not such a bad insult.
In Jersey it would be served with some crusty bread – perhaps Jersey cabbage loaf.
Traditionally, the jar of beans and meat was carried to the bakery to cook overnight. A good bean crock relies on long, slow cooking.
Traditional crock pots are still sold in Jersey but you can use a large casserole dish with a lid, or even a slow cooker to make a bean crock.
500/1 lb mixed beans (large white haricot beans, butter beans, brown and red kidney beans)
500g/1lb cubed belly pork, or equivalent weight in stewing meat like pig’s trotter or shin of beef.
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thickly
2 onions, peeled and sliced
Small bunches of parsley and thyme and a bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Soak the beans in enough cold water to cover overnight. If the mixture includes red kidney beans it is important to boil the beans for at least 10 minutes before putting them in the crock pot.
Drain the beans and put them in a traditional crock pot or other oven proof dish with roughly cut onions, carrots and meat (or meat substitute) season with pepper, bay leaves and herbs.
Pour boiling water over contents until covered. Place, without lid, in a hot oven, gas mark 6, 200 C (400 F).
Cook uncovered until contents bubble then put on lid, turning oven to low, gas mark 2, 150 C (300 F).
Leave cooking all day, topping up with boiling water when necessary, check periodically to see that there is still enough water. You want the bean crock to thicken up, but not burn or dry out. One hour before serving, remove meat, vegetables and herbs, strip meat from bones.
Discard bones, gristle, excess fat, vegetables and herbs.
Mix into the beans, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty bread and perhaps some green salad.
At community events in Jersey bean crocks may be brought and shared, you find that every one is different. Some are thick, some thin, some have carrots some do not. I prefer mine thick side carrots.