Recipes From The Past: 1830’s Captain Sanderson’s Boiled Pork and Bean Soup

I’m starting a new series that I’m calling Recipes From The Past, where I will research and pick out a recipe from various time periods, cook it, and make my family try it.

The first recipe I am trying is called Captain Sanderson’s Boiled Pork and Bean Soup. This is a recipe made popular in the trenches of the civil war. Named after George K. Sanderson, a distinguished union captain, it is made with little spices and often with whatever vegetable was available. Pork butt and dried beans were common rations for the soldiers.

So begins the series, lets step back to the mid 1830’s for a taste of history.

Captain Sanderson’s Boiled Pork and Bean Soup, circa 1830’s


• 1 pound dried navy beans

• 1 pound pork shoulder or butt

• 1 onion, diced

• 1 leek, diced

• 1 garlic clove, diced

• 1 sprig of thyme

• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

• 2 tablespoons bacon fat

Soak beans overnight in cold water.

Dice the pork into small chunks and boil in water 1 hour or until tender. I covered the pork in water, no real measurement.

Save the stock.

(My antique 1950’s bacon grease pot)

In a soup pot, combine the bacon fat and vegetables. Then add thyme and vinegar.

Add the soaked navy beans and the pork stock. Add water if you need more liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then add the pork. Cook for 20 minutes until the beans are tender.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.


It’s a bit bland, but there is a pleasant flavor. Justin, Jaden, and Audrey really liked it. Jack didn’t care for it so much, and I could take it or leave it.

It was fun to think about soldiers sitting around a fire and eating this very soup, though.

I also served Confederate Johnnycakes with it because it seemed wrong to represent the North without the South. 😉

Confederate Johnnycakes

2 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon bacon fat

Slowly add the cornmeal to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, butter, bacon fat and salt. Place a 3-ounce scoop in a black skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s