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Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands.The island is usually the hottest place in the British Isles during the summer months, with the temperature averaging a few degrees higher than the mainland. As the island is neither part of the EU or the UK, it is a popular 'duty-free' destination. Jersey has a rich and varied history, with several wars and invasion attempts over many centuries.The island was part of the Duchy of Normandy in the 10th century and became part of the Anglo-Norman realm in 1066. The island's history is reflected in the French road names and typical Jersey surnames, as well as in the many historical French artefacts and monuments that can be found around the island. This is a traditional recipe, and no self-respecting Jersey woman would be without her earthenware bean crock, or casserole, in which to cook one of the most filling and tasty of all the island's recipes. So popular was this bean dish that every farmhouse had its bundles of drying French beans hanging from the rafters waiting to be shelled in the long winter evenings. Town folk used to hang their beans in the garage. For some Islanders this was a traditional supper dish; others had it for Sunday breakfast. Mr. Heinz is supposed to have taken the idea for his famous baked beans from the bean crock of Jersey emigrants in Canada. Prep time includes the overnight soaking for the beans. (This adapted recipe is originally from the Jersey Tourism Website.)
- Soak beans overnight in sufficient water to cover. Then drain and put them in to the beancrock (any earthenware casserole dish or a Le Creuset dish will be fine), seasoning with pepper.
- Add the belly pork, shin of beef, carrot, onion and herbs. Pour boiling water over the contents until covered. Place, without lid, in hot oven, Gas mark 6, 200°C (400°F). Cook uncovered until contents bubble. Then put on lid, turning oven to low, Gas mark 2, 150°C (300°F). Leave cooking all day - about 4 to 6 hours, topping up with boiling water when necessary.
- One hour before serving, remove meat, vegetables and herbs, strip meat from bones. Discard the bones, gristle and excess fat. Mix meat into the beans, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with crusty bread or with grilled ham and eggs.