The many foods of the Feast of St. Nicholas

The Feast Day of St Nicholas

Feast Day of St Nicholas

For those of you who are religiously observant, you likely know that today is the Feast day of St Nicholas.  
According to the St. Nicholas Center, these are some of the reasons for celebrating today
• To focus on giving more than receiving: St. Nicholas cared for the needy 
• To emphasize small treats and family fun: St. Nicholas loved children 
• To provide a bit of special festivity early in the waiting weeks of Advent 

It's better to give than receive

I like the idea of focusing on giving more than receiving, and especially any day where you can give small treats and emphasize family fun!
In reading more about the traditional foods that are eaten on this feast day, I was amazed at how many different dishes there were!  Each country had its own special dish, and the one that really caught my eye was the bean soup from Italy.
I've decided to share that particular recipe with you today!  (especially cause that's the thing I like about this day and the whole Season!)
While the recipe as written does sound delicious, there are so many ways you can modify this to your own tastes.
  • Instead of salt pork, you could use some leftover beef, or make it completely meat free.
  • You can change the navy beans to your favorite bean
  • Kale or spinach could be used in place of escarole
  • You could use vegetable or chicken stock instead of beef stock
  • You could load up this soup with lots more veggies as well!
Comment below and share how you made this!


Bean soup with escarole









  • 1 pound dried navy beans (I substituted with chick peas!)
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ pound lean salt pork cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head escarole
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to pass at table


1. Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 2 inches. Or, cover with water, bring to a boil, boil 5 minutes, and soak, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Put the beans and their soaking water, the beef stock, and bay leaves in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.

3. While the beans are cooking, put the salt pork in a large skillet and brown over moderate heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook them in the rendered fat, but do not let them brown. Stir frequently. Remove the mixture with a slotted spoon, and add it to the soup.

4. Wash the escarole thoroughly, and tear it into 2-inch pieces. When the beans are cooked, add the escarole. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft. Season to taste, keeping in mind the fact that Parmesan cheese is salty. Serve at once, with a bowl of grated Parmesan cheese. 8 servings.

Do you have a traditional dish to celebrate?  I'd love to hear - comment below and share!

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  1. Donnica says:

    I have a little seasonal life list in my planner at the the beginning of each month. One of the items for December is to cook a holiday dish. Your post makes me want to research dishes in other countries and try preparing them.

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