Guest Author - Launa Stout
California Dry Bean Festival
This year at the annual dry Bean Festival, Tracy, California is celebrating “25 Years of Beans”. This event usually takes place the first weekend in September.
This historic event is a great way for families and friends to connect and do something fun right there in their own community.
It is also possible to purchase local keepsakes such as festival t-shirts, souvenir “bean” pins or souvenir wine glasses. Also, since it will be the 25th anniversary this year you can also expect to find some souvenirs offering with the anniversary logo.
The layout for the festival will change a bit this year do to the construction project in the downtown Plaza. Kids carnival will be moved to 10th street near the Tracy Press building. The multi-cultural stage will be located near 10th and B Street.
A favorite of our family each year is the “Bean Pavilion”, which will be located on Central Avenue between 9th and 10th Street. This is where the festival goes can really hit pay-dirt. They can try a variety of dry bean samples, buy an assortment of specialty dry beans and watch bean cooking demonstrations and maybe even get some bean give-aways. Sunday brings local residents out to compete in the “Best Chili in Town” at the annual chili cook off.
You can count on the Bean 5K/10K run and the car show- they happen each year.
This event if free- bring the family and enjoy the day.
White Bean Soup
1 pound dried white beans
¼ c. olive oil
1 medium Spanish onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined
1 ½ to 2 pounds smoked ham hocks, excess fat removed
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 c water
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ c chopped fresh parsley
1. Soak the beans overnight in enough cold water to cover them in the pot.
3. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
4. Add the onion to the pot, and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the garlic, celery, red and green peppers, and jalapeno pepper.
6. Cook and stir constantly for 1 minute.
7. Add the ham hocks, the chicken stock, water and bay leaf.
8. Once the pot is boiling, reduce the heat down to medium low.
9. Simmer, covered but still stir occasionally.
10. When beans are tender (about 1 ½ hours), remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.
11. Discard the bay leaf.
12. Lift the ham hocks out onto a plate and cut the meat off, chop them into pieces and set them to the side.
13. Take 4 cups of the mixture- mostly beans, in two batches in food processor or use an immersion blender.
14. Return the puree to the soup
15. Add the ham pieces and reheat until warm through and through.
16. Add the salt and fresh pepper to taste.
17. Sprinkle some parsley on just before serving.