Making Guernsey Bean Jar

In my first podcast (Episode 1 – A Podcast is Born, click here to find the podcast) I mentioned bean jar.  Bean jar is a very old Guernsey recipe for a bean casserole and it is yummy.  The pots that the casserole used to be cooked in were known as ‘bean jars’.  I shared some recipes on the show notes here.

Today, I made a bean jar, so I thought I’d document the process.  It’s not a difficult recipe but it is something of a labour of love as it takes up to 10 hours to cook….!  The recipe comes from a very old leaflet (yellow, dog eared and typed on a typewriter) from my mother in law.  Measurements are approximate.   Bean Jar is one of those things where you can get away with just throwing everything in…  I hope you enjoy what follows.

Guernsey Bean Jar (by Mavis Mallet, L’Islet, Guernsey)


  • Beef shin on the bone or 1lb (450g) brisket
  • 2 or 3 pork rinds or small piece of pork hock
  • Thyme, parsley, salt and pepper
  • 1lb (450g) haricot beans
  • 1/2lb (225g) butter beans
  • 1/2lb carrots (sliced into rings)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped

Chef’s note! I was attempting to make a slightly less fatty version so I didn’t use any pork (although it is yummy made with a pork hock).  I used just shin of beef without the bone as it was all I could get.  Note that the pork fat, and indeed the shin bone, will add flavour.  So I really went mad on seasoning, adding some sage, and rather than water I used beef stock.

Step 1

Soak the beans in water for a minimum of 2 – 3 hours (I soaked them overnight).

Haricot and butter beans

Step 2

Chop carrots, onions and herbs roughly.

Chopped carrots, onions and herbs

Step 3

Place meat in the bottom of your casserole dish, heavy saucepan or bean jar.

Shin of beef

Step 4

Drain beans and layer them on top of the beef with the onions, herbs and carrots.  Add lots of salt and pepper (you may wish to lay off the salt a bit if you are using stock as your liquid).


Bean Jar (uncooked with lots of pepper, without liquid)

Step 5

Pour in liquid (enough to cover the beans).  I used beef stock but you can use water.  Cover and place in a low oven (gas mark 1/2, 130 degrees) and cook for between 4 and 10 hours (overnight is best).

Step 6

Eat warm with with crusty bread.  Mmmmmmm….

Here is my bean jar after 8 hours in the oven.  The meat has all broken up and the beans are starting to break down.  I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t look very appetising at all.  But it does taste good.

Cooked Guernsey Bean Jar

P.S. Don’t forget the health warning I gave you in episode 1 of the podcast….  The dish will leave you a little, err… windy!!


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Guernsey girl, maker of stuff, teacher, knitter, blogger, podcaster, tweeter, lover of stationery, geek, crocheter, jewellery maker, domestic goddess (sort of), paper crafter, g&t drinker, artist, singer and reluctant sports person.


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