Photo from The Real West: Legendary Cowboys ©The History ChannelI don’t know about you, but growing up I used to love going to the Saturday matinee at the local movie theater near my house and spend an entire afternoon watching that week’s western-themed double-feature.

Those story lines that took the audience along the dusty trail of a cattle drive inevitably ended up around a twilight campfire with a bunch of cowpokes having a hearty supper of beans.

Eating beans - Blazing Saddles ©1974 Warner Bros. PicturesIn unison, the hired hands would complain to the cook, “BEANS AGAIN!” But they scarfed it all down and chased it with a tin cup of darker-than-midnight black coffee.

I got so hungry just watching them spoon out all that goodness that I would rush home during the closing credits and rummage through the cupboard for a can of pork-‘n’-beans — It’s what’s for dinner!

Over the years, my love of westerns has not diminished, nor has my desire for a tasty plate or bowl of beans — straight up with a vinaigrette, added to a bed of greens, or, my favorite, soup.

In honor of beans and bronco-busters, I thought I’d head into my own virtual chuck wagon and whip up a pot of soup straight out of the Lazy Person’s cookbook. With a nod to Hollywood director Mel Brooks, and for obvious reasons, this recipe is called Blazing Saddles Bean Soup.


Blazing Saddles Bean Soup ingredients graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Submerge the dried Fagioli del Moro di Norcia (or any dried large, dark bean you have) in a bowl of cold water, cover and let soak for 12 hours before proceeding to Step-2.

Step-2: Coat the bottom of a large pot with Olive Oil and set on MEDIUM HIGH heat.

Step-3: Brown the Garlic Cloves then remove (or, follow Step-3 for Garlic Powder use).

Step-4: Add the Pancetta/Bacon cubes, chopped Red Onion, cubed Potato, Garlic Powder, Spicy Red Pepper Flakes and Salt; stir frequently until the Pancetta/Bacon browns (about 10 minutes).

Step-5: Drain the beans then add them to the pot along with the Red Wine and stir.

Step-6: Once the alcohol dissipates from the Wine add the Chicken Stock, stir and bring the mixture to a boil. At this point, you can also add a couple of Bay Leaves (Laurel) into the mixture to help reduce or eliminate the unwanted after effects of beans. 🙂

Step-7: Turn the heat down to LOW, cover the pot and low cook for approximately 2 hours.

Step-8: Turn off heat and, with the aid of a handheld blender or old-fashioned strainer, puree the mixture to a creamy consistency leaving a few of the pieces chunky for extra texture and appearance.

Step-9: Pour 3 ladles of soup into each bowl, drizzle a cross of Olive Oil over the top and serve with crunchy bread or top each bowl with a few croutons



Recommended wine pairing: Costadolio Rosato IGTMaculan Società Agricolo, Breganze (VI), Italy

Costadolio Rosato IGT | ©Tom Palladio Images  Costadolio Rosato IGT ©Tom Palladio Images

This light and lively rosé is made from 100% Merlot grapes. At 12.5% alcohol by volume, Costadolio Rosato IGT is intense with fruity aromas of peaches and lychee along with white flower petals. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and silky, with a lovely, lingering acidity.

Costadolio Rosato IGT pairs well pasta and risotto dishes along with grilled and roasted fish. Best served chilled at 10°C.

Costadolio Rosato IGT | ©Tom Palladio Images  Costadolio Rosato IGT with Bean Soup | ©Tom Palladio Images

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

TPT Borsalino 2014 Color |©Tom Palladio Images



Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via


  1. Despite your wonderful post, I’m not goin’ to be rushin’ to make this any time soon — the gas beans produces in me is just horrendous and seems to last for days! ‘Though I do like the association of the old-time black and white Westerns, which I loved. We too had that Saturday arvo’ experience in the local cinemas as young children, adding to it by rolling Jaffas (a local confection of chocolate balls with orange flavoured hard shell, much like fuller-sized M+Ms) underneath the seating; everybody did that, it was hilarious!


    1. Janina – You probably know the cooking secret when it comes to prepping beans: drop a bay leaf or two when cooking. It’s supposed to reduce or eliminate those gaseous urges later on. I’ll have to try rolling some round candy under the seat the next time I go to the cinema. 🙂


  2. I remember that scene used to get censored when they showed Blazing Saddles on tv when I was a kid, ie, I think they turned down the volume for all the farts and just had these cowboys sitting around the fire laughing. It didn’t really make sense at all.

    I might have to avoid the soup too. My minestrone – with beans and cabbage – is bad enough!


  3. Westerns & Beans – as American as Baseball & Apple Pie!
    I’ll try the bay leaf trick sometime.
    I have a Chicken Chili recipe with white beans that I make regularly and freeze. It’s my standby “whats for dinner” on those late work nights. Perfect for Cowboys on horses!


    1. MG – You need to share your Beans ‘n’ Chili recipe sometime. Add a few other types of beans – black and kidney – to add a bit more color and taste next time you whip up a batch of standby. And, if you come across Pasta e fagioli on the menu while you’re in Italy, order it.


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