I have to admit that I like canned soups and stews. It’s all kinds of wrong, but the enormous (and not particularly healthy) amounts of salt that go in them are a guilty pleasure for me. Still, as much as I like canned Fasolka (Polish bean stew), I can honestly say that my husband’s homemade version is the best.
When I first met him, I discovered a whole new world of foods as well. When the Poles came to the UK after 2004, they brought their food stores with them, and I’m eternally grateful. Not only can I buy German coffee there, I also got a taste of all their canned goods. Fasolka is simple, filling and appeals to the meat lover in me, while the beans must surely mean it’s healthy as well!
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 800g dried white beans. The Polish shop will have all kinds (you’re looking for Fasola), but any nationality will do.
- 500g Sausage. Again, it’s easiest to find a Polish shop and ask at the counter. We used a cooked variety of sausage, but I have no idea what it’s called. They can’t all be called kielbasa! (Whenever I ask my husband what a particular kind of sausage is called, he says “Just go to the counter and point!” I’m starting to wonder if there are no names. Or if he’s not really Polish.)
- 500g Polish bacon. If you really can’t find a Polish shop to point at meats, I suppose any bacon will do. But the Polish one looks prettier.
- Tin of double concentrated tomato puree
- Salt, pepper, marjoram
- Soak the beans overnight.
- Next day, drain the beans and fill the pan with fresh water. Depending on how thick you want your stew the ratio can be anything up to two times the volume of water.
- Boil the beans until they’re soft. Add the tomato puree towards the end.
- Meanwhile, chop the meats and fry them in a little oil.
- When the beans are soft, add the meat, season and simmer for another 10 minutes.
The marjoram really makes all the difference. You can use oregano as well, but it’s optional.
Fasolka freezes well, but also keeps in the fridge overnight and tastes great reheated. You can serve it with bread, but it’s filling enough on its own, especially when made with a smaller amount of water. In our house it can also be used to scare the children, who for some reason have developed an aversion to it. The neighbours’ kid recently told me that it was okay for my daughter to come over for dinner, so she wouldn’t have to eat “Polish beans.” Don’t listen to the children! Smacznego!