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Cook up your own soup beans on the stovetop or in the slow cooker (see Tip). These brothy beans get a kick when served with fermented cabbage and black-pepper-spiced skillet cornbread.

EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2022


Credit: Jacob Fox

Recipe Summary

25 mins
1 hr 30 mins
plus overnight soaking




To prepare beans:
  • Drain and rinse beans. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat (or see Tip, below). Add onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add broth, bay leaves, thyme and the beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. (You want them to remain whole and not falling apart.) Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare cornbread:
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Add oil to an 8-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven for 5 minutes.

  • Combine cornmeal, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg and buttermilk in a large measuring cup. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry to combine. Pour the hot oil into the batter and stir to combine, then pour the batter back into the hot skillet. Sprinkle with pepper.

  • Bake the cornbread until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Cut into 8 slices.

  • Serve the beans with the cornbread and sauerkraut (or chowchow).

To make ahead:

Refrigerate beans (Step 1) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


8-inch cast-iron skillet 


To cook beans in a slow cooker, combine the drained beans, onion, garlic, 5 cups broth (or water), bay leaves and thyme in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low until the beans are tender, about 6 hours. (You want them to remain whole and not falling apart.) Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Associated Recipe:

Nutrition Facts

generous 1 cup beans, 1 piece cornbread & 2 Tbsp. sauerkraut (or chowchow)
317 calories; protein 6g; carbohydrates 53g; dietary fiber 14g; sugars 3g; fat 6g; saturated fat 1g; cholesterol 24mg; sodium 640mg; potassium 788mg.