Super easy European bean stew

This bean stew is so fucking easy to make it ought be impossible to create such great flavors from so little work. This less-than-10-minutes stew with vegan options will knock your socks off!


  • 20 cl dried white or brown beans (butter, pinto whatever you have)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (not soda)
  • 10 g sea salt (exactly 2 of my pinches)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 twigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 20 cl heavy cream.
  • 1 tsp white balsamic vinegar

Detailed description below the how to video 🙂

Start by grabbing a lidded pot around 3 liters, toss in the beans, cover the beans with water, add the baking powder and 10g salt, cover with a lid, set the pot aside, and soak the beans overnight.

This entire operation will take you 1 minute and 46 seconds. Approximately.

When it’s 1.5 hours until dinner, set the pot on your stove on medium high heat and bring to a boil.

While you’re waiting for your pot to come to a boil, crush and chop your garlic, halve your onions, then slice lengthwise so you get slices of about 3-4mm.

Toss ALL ingredients except the onion, cream and vinegar into the pot.

Depending on how powerful your stove is, this entire operation will take you 4 minutes and 38 seconds. Approximately.

Let everything simmer gently until the beans are tender, but not falling apart. This will take 70-90 minutes. Set your timer on for 70 minutes, then fuck off for a walk or do your pedicure or whatever you prefer, well aware of the fact that you have spent 6 minutes and 24 seconds on today’s dinner so far.

When the beans are tender, add the cream and onion, and simmer for another 15 minutes, lid off.

Season to taste with salt and a dash of white balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar). The vinegar must be added right before serving, otherwise the onion will never become tender. See Mini Masterclass below for more info.

Serve with a sprinkle of chives and a good, rustic bread. We had home-baked sourdough bread with barley.

What does your stop watch say now?

Mini Masterclass:

Adding a little bit of baking powder to the water makes it sligtly alkaline, and helps producing super tender beans (or legumes as a whole).

Adding acid, like vinegar, citrus, tomatoes etc will have the exact opposite effect to beans and many other vegetables. That’s why you should always soften your onions in oil before adding tomatoes for a pasta sauce, lest you’ll be left with crunchy onions.

Zero waste tip:

  • This dish keeps well for at least one week in a lidded container in the fridge.
  • Mash the beans and make a paté to spread on bread from the leftovers.
  • Pureed leftovers mixed with mashed potatoes makes a terrific, filling potato puré – or thin it with some veg stock for a potato soup

Vegan option:

First of all, ditch the cream. Whatever you do next, DO NOT fuckin add coconut milk or anything like that – it’s gonna throw off the entire flavor profile. Instead, take off a ladle of stew and blend it smooth when the beans are tender and use that as thickener to make it creamy instead. Add 2 tbs quality olive oil for added body and flavor.

Simplify this dish:

Use 2 cans (400g) of white beans including the liquid instead of dried, and ditch the baking soda. It will be more or less the same ammount of active time, but you don’t have to soak the beans ahead. Be aware, though, that dried beans are superior in flavor, generates less waste, and is a LOT cheaper than canned.


    • Recipe is for 4 people. I’d either add some more bread, or 10 cl extra dry beans, or 1 extra can. Or double to have plenty leftovers for the paté etc 🙂

  1. Any reason why you wouldn’t cook the beans in a pressure cooker? I tend to pressure-cook three or four days’ worth of mixed beans and keep them in the fridge to use as I need them. Thoughts?

    • Hi Janey! I wrote that recipe before we got our pressure cooker! Simply take off the amount of beans you need for the mouths you need to feed, put them in your pot and continue adding the onion, cream and rosemary and take things from there. It’ll taste exactly the same, and you’ll save water, LPG/electricity and time too 🙂

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