Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home
This recipe combines two comfort foods in one. The classic elements can be served at a holiday meal, or as a side dish at an everyday supper.
Take a few beans, boil them tender; then take your stew pan, put in a piece of butter, when it is melted shake in some flour, and peel a large onion, slice it and fry it brown in that butter; then put in the beans, shake in a little pepper and a little salt, grate a little nutmeg in, have ready the yolk of an egg and some cream; stir altogether for a minute or two, and dish them up.
— Glasse, Hannah, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple” 1796.
Note: This is a two-part recipe as you see it here. The beans are done in the first recipe then the potatoes in the second. Combined together they make a neat and attractive dish.
- ¼ lb. green beans
- ½ stick butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 medium onion
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons (plus) cream
- Cut your beans into 2 or 3 inch pieces and boil in water until medium tender in a stew pan.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the ½ stick of butter, shake in half of your flour and stir with a whisk.
- Peel the onion, cut it in half and cut those halves into thin slices. Put them into the butter and flour mixture. Fry your onion in this until golden.
- Drain the beans from the water and add to the onions and add the rest of the flour, salt and pepper. Stir well.
- Add the cream, or more if needed and stir well.
- Whip the egg yolk in a separate bowl and add this slowly to the beans as you stir over a medium heat. After a couple of minutes’ stirring, take it off the fire.
Beans Ragooed with Potatoes
Boil two pounds of potatoes soft, then peel them, put them into a sauce pan, put to them half a pint of milk, stir them about, and a little salt; then stir in a quarter of a pound of butter, keep stirring all the time till it is so thick that you cannot stir the spoon in it hardly for stiffness, then put it into a halfpenny Welsh dish, first buttering the dish; heap them as high as they will lie, flour them, pour in a little melted butter over it, and then a few crumbs of bread; set it into a tin oven before the fire; and when brown, lay it in the middle of the dish (take great care you do not mash it), pour your ragoo round it, and send it to table hot.
- 1 lb. potatoes
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ tsp. salt (or a little more if you like)
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- Peel and boil the potatoes in water until soft.
- Drain and put them into a mixing bowl and mash them.
- As you mash the potatoes add the milk, half the butter and your salt. Continue to mash them till they are stiff.
- Mound the potatoes up in a pie plate and dust the flour over them, then drizzle over the rest of the butter melted and then top the whole with the bread crumbs.
- Brown the top of this mixture in the oven with the broiler on until the crumbs are brown and crisp.
- Gently place the potatoes in the center of your serving plate with a nice flat spatula. Then take your ragooed beans and spoon then nicely around the potatoes. You are ready to serve.