A traditional North German dish: Birnen, Bohnen, Speck

Late August, September and October are my favorite months of the year. There are still many sunny and warm days, which I appreciate even more after one of the  periods of rain and wind that occur more and more frequently as we head for autumn and winter.

The flowers blooming now have intense colours, and the shops and markets are full of fruit and vegetables grown in the area. It is time for one of my favorite foods: Birnen (pears), Bohnen (green string beans) and Speck (bacon). This dish is only eaten during the period  from late August until the beginning of October, because only then can you get these pears and fresh locally grown beans. I have never come across this dish outside Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg  or the northern part of Northern Saxony, therefore I consider it a true North German meal.

The pears used in this dish are small, hard and it is not advisable to eat them uncooked.   It is possible to use normal pears, but they should be small and very hard. It is important to use fresh beans as you will not get the typical flavor with frozen ones.


You boil the bacon for about half an hour together with the savory, then you add the pears and beans and boil the dish for another 20 minutes. Use salt and pepper to taste and serve with boiled potatoes. If you like you can thicken the cooking juices with a bit of flour.


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