“Let’s BOB” or How to cook traditional Bulgarian beans in a clay pot

As I promise you our cooking fairy tale continuing with chapter two – “Let’s BOB” or How to cook traditional Bulgarian beans in a clay pot

Dedicated to the biggest beans lover that I’ve ever met – my lovely Miranda Shirley (Mariika).

Beans is one of the most traditional Bulgarian dishes. There are many types of beans and so many different ways to cook them: one pot beans, beans stew, beans soup, beans with cabbage, fried beans, etc. Most of them are absolutely vegan. Of course my grandmother (like most Bulgarians) will never ask you: ‘”do you want some vegan beans?”. Actually, many traditional Bulgarian dishes are made only with vegetables, especially in the old days. Back then one would only eat what one grows. The traditional Bulgarian family would grow fruits and vegetables on their own land as well as cows, ships and/or goats, and chickens in a small farm. And the food on the table – only home homemade. Typically, there was a cellar in the house, stocked with jars of cooked or marinated vegetables and fruits. We call this ‘zimnina’ (preserved food), for ‘zima’ which means winter. So the idea was to continue consuming your own produce even when there weren’t any fresh ones, especially during the winter.

It is all about the tradition

Can you imagine the quality of that food? Beautiful! And it wasn’t long ago. There were so many small villages in Bulgaria where people were working the land only 25 years ago. And then, slowly, everyone left the village and moved to the big city. So sad. So many empty, almost destroyed houses and deserted villages. However, in the past few years the Bulgarians started re-evaluating their way of living: the stress, the noise, the pollution in the big city started driving people back to the village where one can maintain a healthier life-style and stay close to the nature.

Bob my Beans

But let’s go back to the BOB. Why bob, in Bulgarian language bob means beans. Miranda so much loved the name bob. For her, bob means everything – beans, lentils, peas, cooking beans, eating beans, going to buy some beans …

So bebe, I really want you to be here so I can cook bob for you! Since you are not – I thought, through this article, I will give you a little taste of Bulgaria.



  • 2 cups (500g) dried white beans
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 tomatoes fresh or 400g canned
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried spearmint
  • 1 tsp dried savory
  • 1 tbsp white flour
  • salt
  • sunflower oil
  • water

Soak the beans for at least 8 hours before cooking (or even overnight). Drain and rinse. Add cold fresh water to cover the beans by 2-3 cm. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain the water and rinse. Add again cold fresh water and return the saucepan to the heat. Bring to boil and then drain the water one last time. Rinse the beans and fill the saucepan with water to cover the beans by 2-3 cm. Return to the heat. Once it starts boiling lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Boiling the beans

While the beans are boiling, prepare the remaining products. Cut the onion and carrots into small pieces, the pepper into larger pieces. Put everything in the clay pot. Add the tomato juice, spices and olive oil. Mix the flour with a little water to make a paste and no lumps. Then add again to the other products in the clay pot. Add the beans and top up with water (about 2 fingers above the beans). Stir and cover with a lid. Put the pot in a cold oven and set it to 180 degrees. Bake for about 2 and a half hours and you can stir from time to time. Finally, add the salt and stir.

Better to consume bob hot and sprinkle the dish with fresh parsley.

How to eat Bob

Best pairing in my opinion – Bulgarian red wine – merlot or Cabernet franc. Also it will be good with Italian fruity wine like Valpolicella, Spanish Rioja and maybe Cote de Rhone /sorry Miranda, no gin here/. Bon appetit!!

If this preparation is too much for you, there are several things that you can do to reduce the prep and cooking time and still enjoy bob.

  1. Come to Burgas coliving & coworking – I can try to prepare it for you. If you don’t trust my cooking, don’t worry – the BOB Master /my mother/ lives next door.
  2. Come to Burgas coliving & coworking and we will ask the chef of one the best traditional Bulgarian restaurants in Burgas to cook for us.
  3. Come to Burgas coliving & coworking and we will organize a trip to a magical place in Strandzha mountain. There we can eat amazing homemade one pot beans.

So cheer up bebe, LET’S BOB!!!