Tag Archives: Beer

Beer-Braised Pork and Bean Soup (Crock Pot)

Wow.  I had the most intense workout ever at the gym today.

I only went twice this week, and not even once the week before (midterms, ya know), so this morning I woke up motivated and ready to get back to my normal routine.  I went to my usual Friday morning total body conditioning class, but our instructer stepped it up fifty notches a notch.  We were lifting weights, doing squats, doing more squats, and workin’ our abs–one set for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat for a second set. On to the next muscle group, and like so for an entire hour.  My heartrate didn’t go down for a second after the first five minutes of class.

And now I feel like a giant bowl of shaky jello legs.

What a relief to come home to a big hearty bowl of soup–hopefully the last of the “winter soups” for the year.

Beer-Braised Pork and Bean Soup (Crock Pot)

  • 1 lb pork (I used pork chops but I definitely would have used a (cheaper) shoulder or butt roast if I had one around)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 C dried beans, rinsed (I used navy, garbanzo, lima, and black beans)
  • 2 bottles beer–as a non-beer drinker, the type doesn’t matter much to me because it all tastes the same.  Those of you who disagree, use your special microbrews or whatever
  • 4 C beef/chicken/veggie broth
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 t sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

As with all crock pot soups (that’s why I love ’em!) this is quick-‘n’-easy.

Add the pork, onion, tomatoes, and spices into the pot.  Cover with the dried, rinsed beans and mix.

Pour a little beer over the top.

Actually, just pour in a lot.  We’re looking for that beery, cowboy, pork-and-beans on the open range taste here.

Add the broth, give it a good stir, and cover.  Set to cook on low for eight to ten hours.

While your soup is slowly cooking up a storm, check out how adorable Henry is, all snuggled up in his favorite spot on a rainy day:

I’m pretty sure Henry spends at least half of the day on the bed, rotating from the pillow on the left to the pillow on the right to foot of the bed on the left to foot of the bed on the right and so on and so forth.

It’s a good life.

Once the soup is ready (beans tender), remove the pork and pull it apart with forks.  Pork is the perfect meat for slow cooked stews.  Cheap and tough cuts of meat become tender and delicious.  Pigs were born for this.

Is that insenstive?  Sorry.

Open-range rugged rancher pork and beans taste achieved.  Perfection for the last winter soup of the year. 

See you tomorrow for a baking update!


Filed under Soups/Stews

African Safari Beer Bread

Fritz and I got married on May 30, 2009 (a year and a half ago yesterday!).  For our rehearsal dinner, the Zietsmans threw an “African safari”-themed dinner for all the relatives and friends that had gathered ’round for the occasion.  I still dream about that lamb roast…

But that’s besides the point.  One of the fantastic ideas they had was to buy me a safari-themed cookbook (A Kitchen Safari) that everyone signed to give us their best wishes.  Of the best signatures:

 Lauren and Fritzy,

You guys are pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to me (and each other, I guess) further proving the perfection of our triangle.  I love you both!


Dearest Lauren & Boeta,

May your home be filled with love, blessings, hugs, smiles, memories, and good food (by Lauren), good cabinets (built by Fritz), & most important…the two of you, side-by-side!  I am so overjoyed to see the two of you tie the knot!  Love, unconditionally…


La and Fritz

I am without words…too much lamb.

Grandpa Charles

So perfect for reminiscing.  As I was paging through this book a few days ago, I was re-inspired about how much I love everything South African, and found a lot of recipes I want to try.  The first one I tried was a tremendous success–African Safari Beer Bread.  That’s right, beer.  And weirdly enough, I actually had some in the fridge.

African Safari Beer Bread (from A Kitchen Safari, called “Camping Bread”)

  • 750 ml bread flour (a little over 3 C–I used 1 1/2 C whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour)
  • 5 ml salt (1 t)
  • 5 ml ground cumin (1 t)
  • 15 ml baking powder (1 T)
  • 2 ml bicarbonate of soda (1/2 t–what a great name for baking soda)
  • 1 x 340 ml can of beer (1 1/5 C or 11 1/2 oz)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 ml rock salt (1 t, coarse sea salt)

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C–for us Americans, that’s 320 degrees F.  Mix together the dry ingredients (not the rock salt–that’s for the top later).  Add in the beer.  You can drink the rest if you want…it was a little too early for me.  Oh, and I hate beer.

The dough will be firm and a bit sticky.  Shape the dough and place it into an oiled bread pan.

Using a pastry brush (or your husband’s silicone grilling baster brush), spread beaten egg over the top and sprinkle with the coarse salt.

Here’s the best part–it doesn’t have to rise!  Bake in the middle rack of the oven for an hour.  Turn out and cool.  The book suggests serving the bread with apricot preserves and mature cheddar cheese–a combo which I’ve found to be quite popular with my favorite South Africans. 

The bread is salty and has a perfect touch of cumin.  Fritz took one bite, look puzzled, and took a second–then proclaimed it was “his favorite bread ever”.  The crust is dee-vine.  The egg and salt brushed on top give it almost a homemade soft-pretzel feel, and the bread underneath is moist and not too dense.

By far the fastest bread I’ve ever made.

I have a lot of hope for the rest of the recipes in this book!  I’m going to try a second one now for the married group meeting tomorrow: granola muffins with raspberry preserves.  Fritz might faint when he finds out–that man loves granola. 

And eventually I’ll find some time to study.


Filed under Breads