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Pears, Beans & Bacon (Birnen, Bohnen & Speck)

traditional German pears beans and bacon recipe

A beloved Fall recipe from Hamburg is Pears, Beans & Bacon. My grandmother made this every Fall and everyone enjoyed the sweet and savory taste of this easy dish.

Pears in Germany

We have the same pears in Germany as those that I find here in Texas but there is also a kind of pears that I have not seen here: Cooking Pears (Kochbirnen). They are small, firm pears with a sweet taste. We use those pears for cooking and they keep their shape so we don’t cut them. We only remove the little fluffy part on the bottom, that’s it.

Video: How to Make Pears, Beans & Bacon

The Dish “Pears, Beans, and Bacon”

“Birnen, Bohnen und Speck” which translates to “Pears, Beans, and Bacon” in English, is a traditional German dish that reflects our country’s rich culinary heritage. This hearty and savory meal is particularly popular in the northern regions of Germany, such as Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and Schleswig-Holstein. Here, ingredients like beans and bacon have a long history of being staples in the local diet.

The dish is relatively simple to prepare, yet its flavors are deeply satisfying. It typically consists of green beans, fresh or canned, paired with ripe pears and cooked bacon. The beans are sometimes stewed with onions and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dash of sugar for a hint of sweetness. The bacon is adding a smoky and salty dimension to the dish.

“Pears, Beans, and Bacon” is a harmonious blend of sweet, salty, and savory flavors, making it a delightful comfort food. We traditionally serve it as a main course, especially during the late summer and early Fall, when pears and beans are in season. This dish offers you a taste of Germany’s rustic and wholesome culinary traditions. It continues to be cherished by both locals and visitors for its simplicity and deliciousness.

Birnen, Bohnen und Speck recipe english

Variations of this Recipe

There are probably as many variations of this recipe as there are families in Northern Germany. Some boil the bacon with some onion, others add sugar or honey to the sauce, and a newer variation even contains chili peppers. So, if you feel you need this dish to have a personal twist, knock yourself out. This is just the basic, traditional version and you are free to make it your own! I’d be curious what you will come up with, so leave me a comment here or on my Youtube Channel about how you changed the recipe.

how to make pears, beans, and bacon german recipe

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traditional German pears beans and bacon recipe

Pears, Beans & Bacon (Birnen, Bohnen & Speck)

Barbara
5 from 2 votes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch (or Dinner), Main Course
Cuisine German, Schleswig-Holstein / North
Servings 6 servings
Calories 447 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 400 g Bacon
  • 500 ml Water
  • 800 g green Beans
  • 500 g Potatoes
  • some Thyme fresh, or Savory if you find it
  • 6 Pears
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • some Salt
  • some Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf optional

Instructions
 

  • Cut the bacon into bite-size.
    400 g Bacon
  • Pour the water into a large pot, add the bacon & bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
    500 ml Water, 1 Bay Leaf
  • Meanwhile, prepare the beans, peel & cut the potatoes. Cut the pears into quaters and remove the core.
    800 g green Beans, 500 g Potatoes, 6 Pears
  • Add the beans to the pot, creating a layer. Put the potatoes on top and then the pears onto the potatoes. Add some of the thyme.
    Close the lid and boil for 20 to 30 minutes.
    some Thyme
  • Add salt and pepper as needed. Optional, add some sugar.
    some Salt, some Pepper
  • Mix the flour with some cold water and add it to the liquid in the pot. Stir it in as good as possible and boil for a few minutes to slightly thicken the liquid.
    2 Tbsp Flour

Notes

Variations:
Some people add half an onion to the pot with the bacon, some people add a bit of sugar for a sweeter taste. 

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 13gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 994mgPotassium: 906mgFiber: 14gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 967IUVitamin C: 40mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 5mg
Keyword meat, vegetable
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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