Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dark Days 11: Lamb Bone with White Beans and Rosemary

There are local dried beans at my market!  I've been searching and begging for these for several years.  Farmers told me beans aren't hard to grow, but I never got a satisfactory answer as to why local farmers were not growing and selling dried beans.

Finally, last week, one of the farmers I have gotten to know pulled out a little paper bag of dried beans that he had saved for me.  I didn't ask him to do that, but he was excited that I was excited. 

See, when you buy directly from the producer, most of the time you become acquainted and sometimes end up friends.  Friends look out for each other.  They take checks from you because you don't have cash.  They track you down when you left behind your bag of produce.  They greet your children and save treats for them.  Like most relationships, there are awkward spots, like where you buy carrots at another stand and another market seller sees them sticking out of your bag.  Or when you ask your farmer how much canning tomatoes will cost and it's more than you want to pay.

I love my farmers' market.  I do also like the trade routes that bring me coffee, cinnamon, chocolate, tea, and olive oil.  But I strongly dislike imported dried beans when we have the capability to produce our own right here.

Well.  On to the Dark Days' supper. We loved this soup I made up.  I cooked the meaty lamb bone with water and a splash of vinegar for a few hours, being careful to shake the rich marrow out of the bone into the broth.  Added the soaked beans and a few garlic cloves.  At the end, added some chopped onion, home-canned tomatoes, rosemary, fennel, and salt and pepper.

I made tortillas using this recipe - I have tried at least 4 recipes for tortillas and this is the one I kept and love.  It's become our all-purpose flatbread.

We also had a gorgeous green salad with watercress, shredded turnips and honey mustard dressing (local honey, local horseradish).


  1. May I ask why the splash of vinegar? If I had to guess, I'd say it would help to cut the fatty taste from the lamb - which I love, but can't take it too often.

  2. Thanks for testing out tortilla recipes. I've had a few failed attempts, but now I see that it can be done.

  3. I completely agree with you Margo. I buy eggs directly from the farm...veggies that I don't grow myself directly form the farmer.

    There is nothing more satisfying that buying directly from the producer - no middle man :-)

    Your soup looks delicious and so is the flat bread! yum!


  4. Lisa, the vinegar is a stock-making trick. It draws out the calcium in the bones. I do find, also, that many soups benefit from a little acid just before serving - a squeeze of lime or splash of apple cider vinegar.

  5. The meal looks delicious. I grew a couple different types of dry beans this year. I suspect that more small farmers don't grow them because it's time consuming to prepare them for market. They aren't difficult to grow, but they take up quite a bit of space for the amount they produce and it's work to shell and separate the good ones from the chaff. Of course the effort is worth it; I'm amazed at how much more flavor my home grown beans have. I'm not sure why it surprises me, because it's true of everything else that I grow or get fresh from the farmer instead of from the store.

  6. You are very resourceful! I wish our Farmer's market went year round, but alas, it closes in the fall.

  7. Mmmm, a delicious, nourishing meal. I'm looking forward to trying that tortilla recipes.

  8. I love that your farmer friend had something special saved for you. Those are the best kind of relationships! I don't know where we'd be on our Dark Days Challenge if it wasn't for local dried beans!

  9. Amy, my first Dark Days year was hard because beans are such a winter staple of us, but I couldn't get local ones!

  10. I love lamb bones for cooking up lentils. So delicious for sure. I usually buy my dried beans from a few small local farms as I don't have room at the moment to grow my own. Can't wait to have a large garden someday for this purpose.

    Love the flatbread you made to go with this - nothing better in my book to go with beans!


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