Category: SFH Food Talk & Recipes

Serendipity Chicken with Cream Sauce

Jacques Pépin’s Chicken in Cream Sauce (Poulet à la Crème) is an adaptation of his mother’s recipe. Jacques added white wine and mushrooms to the basic recipe. This change brings about a subtle sophistication in the flavor. Of course, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen staff and I knew this would be a perfect dish to try out and share with you. – So, let’s head to the kitchen and make Serendipity Chicken with Cream Sauce.

Jacque Pepin Poulet a la creme

Hi! Thanks for joining me today.

There are few places I’d rather be than cooking in the SFH Test Kitchen. Yes, even now in the midst of the longest heat wave of the year, this kitchen is a joy. That’s because this is where my Hubby and I can be together and share the adventure of cooking.

Why test Jacques’s recipe for chicken with cream sauce?

Jacques admits that his mother might not approve of the changes he made to her recipe. But he notes that his recipe “is easy, fast, and good.” We at the SFH Test Kitchen understand that the essence of creative cooking is the desire to take an excellent recipe and make it your own. So just as Jacques adapted his mother’s recipe, we too will add our own personal touches. – Our goal is to take a simple French country meal and turn it into a simple everyday farmhouse meal.

Level of the challenge

I take Jacques at his word when he says his recipe “is easy, fast, and good.” Unlike the adherence to technique demonstrated by some chefs, Jacques follows a more relaxed approach. This is easy to see when one reads his recipe and then views two or three videos showing how he cooks the dish himself. – It’s never done the same way twice.

This is a meal meant to be cooked by the average mom, just like Jacques’s mother cooked it for him. It could be a great restaurant meal, but it works quite well in a simple farmhouse.

Selection of good-quality ingredients

Jacques’s recipe calls for fresh tarragon. But none was available. Fortunately, last year Hubby dehydrated our homegrown SFH tarragon. It worked quite well as a taste substitute, though it was lacking in its visual presentation.

Skillful, creative substitution is what separates a good chef from an apprentice short-order cook.

Using good-quality ingredients doesn’t mean you have to pay a premium price. Most of our ingredients were purchased at Aldi, Walmart, and Sam’s Club. We shop our own pantry, Aldi “red tags”, and all the sales. Rest assured; this is a meal that doesn’t have to be expensive.

Use of cooking techniques

This recipe does not require a master chef to be in the kitchen with you. No, this is a meal that can be handled by a dedicated amateur cook. – Nevertheless, basics are basics. How you hold the knife, how you brown the chicken, and how you make a simple cream sauce, these are techniques that must learned and practiced. All of these skills are essential to making this recipe work.

Development of superior taste and flavor

Now, I’ll let you in on a little cooking secret. A chicken thigh without the skin is not necessarily my favorite thing. That’s why, when I read this recipe, I was a bit perplexed. Despite my deep respect for Jacques, I chose to leave the skins on.

Here’s why. – The primary taste components of this dish are the chicken and the creme sauce. Unfortunately, the taste of chicken without the skin is overcome by the cream sauce. When the skin is left on and browned, the taste of the chicken and the cream sauce are united. – It is a marriage feast of flavor.

Ironically, in a video you can watch here, Jacques left the skins on. The video was made a year after this recipe was published. Thanks to my Hubby for finding the video. Now I know Jacques and I are not so very different.


Jacques chicken cream sauce

Jacques says that his mother would serve this dish with rice pilaf. However, he makes no recommendations concerning how the dish should be served.

My sweet hubby suggested that since it is a rustic, country dish, it might go well with homemade sourdough bread. So, he made a loaf, and guess what? – He was right!

Jacques Pépin was absolutely correct. His Chicken in Cream Sauce (Poulet à la Crème) “is easy, fast, and good.” – So, try it out and tell us what you think. Until then.

Happy Cooking!

Recipe Resources

If you would like to learn more about Jacques’s recipe for chicken with cream sauce, here are some resources that will help.

  • 2015 – Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen – This is the cookbook with the recipe and background commentary by Jacques.
  • 2015 – Poulet à la Crème – This is an article containing a full excerpt of the recipe and commentary from the book Heart & Soul in the Kitchen.
  • 2016 – Jacques Pépin’s Chicken with Cream Sauce – In this episode of the Rachael Ray Show, Jacques demonstrates how to prepare this dish. This video is fun because Jacques’s daughter Claudine and granddaughter Shorey join him in the cooking.

Did you like this post? If so and you want to see other Jacques Pépin recipes tested by the SFH Test Kitchen, please click here. Of course, your questions and comments are greatly appreciated.

Jacques chicken cream sauce

Poulet à la Crème - Serendipity Chicken with Cream Sauce

Jacques Pépin's Chicken with Cream Sauce (Poulet à la Crème) is an adaptation of his mother's recipe. Jacques added white wine and mushrooms to the basic recipe. This change brings about a subtle sophistication in the flavor. Of course, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen staff knew this would be a perfect dish to try out and share with you. - So, let's head to the kitchen and make Serendipity Chicken with Cream Sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4 People


  • 1 Large saucepan


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs: about 3 pounds, skin removed (about 2 ½ pounds skinned) - We used 4 chicken thighs with the skin on.
  • 8 mushrooms; about 6 ounces, washed and sliced.
  • tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine We used chardonnay.
  • ¼ cup water You can substitute chicken broth.
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon; optional We used dried tarragon.


  • Add olive oil and butter to a large saucepan. Heat until the butter is melted.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Add the chicken thighs to the pan in one layer and brown over high heat for about 2½ minutes on each side.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle on the flour.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Turn the chicken pieces with tongs so the flour is dispersed evenly.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Stir in the wine and water and mix well.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Bring to a boil and add the salt and pepper.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Cover, reduce the heat, and cook gently for 25 minutes.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Add the cream, bring to a boil, and boil, uncovered, for about 1 minute.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce
  • Serve sprinkled with the chopped tarragon, if desired.
    Jacques chicken cream sauce


This recipe is a modified version of the way Jacques Pépin's mother prepared this dish. We decided to leave the skins on to add extra richness in flavor.
Keyword Chicken with cream sauce, Jacques Pepin, Poulet à la Crème

Local Orchards Complete the Picture

It’s a weekend in August. You live near our Nation’s capital, and you’ve decided to spend a day sightseeing near Shenandoah National Park. As you’re heading west on US 211, the road narrows down to two lanes and the display at Jenkins’ Fruit Stand catches your eye. You can’t resist the thought of taking home some fresh apples, or cider, jams, and jellies. So, you slow down, pull over, and park near the stand. After all, this is what your daytrip was all about. – And by doing so, you will also take home with you the memory of your welcome to Sperryville and the orchards of Rappahannock County.

Our Farmhouse in a Food Oasis series of posts has shown you where we get our vegetables, meat and dairy. Now we will show how local orchards complete the picture. But the story of our local orchards is bittersweet. Long in decline, Rappahannock County had gone from nearly 1,000 acres in apple production in 1992 to only about 300 acres in 2004. Ironically, a global pandemic has revived interest in this once fading local food resource.

(For background on the history, decline, and revival of our local orchards, read these two stories: The Sweet, Sad State of Cider & Rappahannock orchards bask in robust apple season — thanks to the pandemic!)

A farm store with more

From our daytrips starting in the late-1980s, we knew that Rappahannock County had wonderful apple and peach orchards. So, Serendipity Farmhouse wasn’t going to have a problem sourcing those products.

For example, Jenkins’ Fruit Stand is just across the road from us. Just a little further down the road, but still within walking distance is Roy’s Farm Market. While the Jenkins’ Fruit Stand is a seasonal attraction, Roy’s is available to us year-round. – And Roy’s place is a farm store with a little bit more.

Rather than write what’s already been written about Roy’s, we’ll just give you some pictures taken a week ago. What’s important to us is that, in addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, the store is stocked with an array of grocery items that you might find in an Aldi’s store. That became an invaluable asset during the pandemic. – If you want to read the history of Roy’s Farm Market, check out the Rappahannock News story Roy’s Orchard: A farm store with more.

What’s on the inside at Roy’s?

And if that isn’t enough for you, as you enter the small complex of buildings and sheds filled with food, you will also find freezers containing beef, pork, fresh baked pies, and ice cream. – It’s all there.

Farmhouse in a Food Oasis – Summary

So, there you have it. We thought we might have made a mistake by moving to a rural county, where travel to major stores would be inconvenient or even dangerous. But I think you can plainly see from this series of posts that we had actually been blessed with more food options than we could have hoped or prayed for.

That, dear Friends, is the nature of ‘serendipity’ – it is the answer to the prayer you should have prayed for but didn’t. And that is why ours is a farmhouse in a food oasis.

A view of peach trees and the Blue Ridge Mountains from Roy’s Farm Market

Natural Farm Products – the Reality

From the beginning, we wondered where in Rappahannock County we could find the best natural farm products. We needed a reliable source for quality dairy and meats, but we didn’t know where to look. True, we were slowly learning that Serendipity is a Farmhouse in a Food Oasis. Nevertheless, it was surprising to learn that some of the best natural farm products were just a stone’s throw away. Let’s take a look at how Blondie and I found Reality Farm.

The story begins with goats.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for goats. While still in Idaho, I developed a taste for goat milk cheese, and I wanted to learn how to make it myself. Unfortunately, goat milk is seldom available at local grocery stores. – One might say, I was a frustrated old goat.

It was in March of 2015 when dearest Blondie came to my rescue. Amazing internet researcher that she is, she soon found that a farm offering goat milk was located only 2.8 miles from us. – We made a call and scheduled a meeting. Within minutes after our arrival, I was the proud owner of half a goat (actually a half share).

Teri Guevremont then gave us a short tour of the farm. We learned that, in addition to goats, Reality raised dairy and beef cattle. It was an eye-opening tour, highlighted by a chance meet some of the new kids on the farm.

More than just a farm

Regular readers of this blog know well that Blondie and I have developed a great appreciation for Reality Farm and the collocated Quievremont Winery. There are many reasons for that. For example, the farm has become our primary source for grass-fed beef, eggs, raw milk.

But Reality is more than just a farm. It’s become a place where I can take my grandchildren and show them real farm life up close. For Blondie and me, the weekly trip to pick up our goat milk is a welcomed peace-filled moment. It’s a respite from the day’s routine. – Everybody should have moments like that.

What’s in the freezer? – What’s in the Fridge?

We’re reminded daily of our ties to Reality Farm. All we have to do is open up the freezer or the fridge.

High-quality, Economical Beef – How to keep the freezer full.

natural farm products

The SFH Test Kitchen has learned that buying a side of beef is much cheaper than buying individual cuts of meat. Buying in bulk saves money in the long run, but it requires a substantial up-front investment.

That’s why having a good friend like Tom is such a great blessing. Tom and I pool our purchasing power to buy an entire side of beef from Reality Farm. We then evenly divide the various cuts. – Here you can see a year’s worth of beef stored in our pantry freezer.

Fresh Dairy and Eggs for your fridge

On Monday mornings, Blondie and I make our weekly trip to Reality Farm. That’s when we pick up our half gallon of goat milk. – There it is on the bottom shelf, the second from the right. It was made just for us, and it has our name on it. – You can be 100% sure its fresh and wholesome!

By Wednesday, or Thursday morning at the latest, that half gallon will become tasty chèvre. – Check out this post to see how we make the cheese: Yes, now!

Who are your real friends? – The Reality

Just like the rest of you, Serendipity Farmhouse experienced hard times over the last three years. Here in Rappahannock County, friends and neighbors reached out to each other to give a helping hand. Blondie and I can’t think of one place that did more for the community than the combination of Reality Farm and Quievremont Winery. – Through the worst of times, their friends and neighbors always came first:

Reality Farm wants to assure all our friends and customers that we are continuing to operate and fulfill deliveries at this time. We are taking extra precautions at the farm and during our milk runs to ensure optimal safety of our employees and our patrons. … We are in this crisis together, but with hope, mutual support, and proper hygiene we’ll make it through. From all of us at Reality Farm: be safe and well!

It’s more than a food oasis.

Blondie and I left Idaho and the house of our dreams. We bought and old farmhouse “as is” and it became the house of our realities. The longer we live here the more we learn that ours is a farmhouse in a food oasis. But there is something more important here. These realities of our life here are blessings from God. – Reality Farm is one of those great blessings.

Reality Farm – The perfect backdrop for our 50th anniversary

Serendipity Farmhouse Homemade Salsa – Pierre’s Challenge

Why settle for second best when you can have your very own homemade salsa? Chef Blondie has known the answer to that question for years. In her Test Kitchen, she demands that you never, ever settle for second best. And that is why I challenged her to show me that she could devise a homemade salsa mix recipe that would satisfy the palate and bring joy to a family gathering.

homemade salsa

As you may remember in the post How to Make Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix, Chef Blondie accepted my challenge. She allowed me to observe the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen Staff in action. I recorded how they assembled and combined the ingredients for the salsa mix. Then, I observed the preparation and canning of the salsa. Finally on July 30th, I participated in the debut family taste test. – In all respects, Chef Blondie surpassed my expectations!

Making this Salsa Recipe Your Own

Dear Reader, it is up to you to make this recipe your own. If you enjoy salsa with chips, use it in taco salad, or combine it with any number of Tex-Mex recipes, then you should print this recipe and start using it right away.

Remember, this recipe is based on a mix of ingredients. You can change ingredient measurements to suit your individual tastes. That is what Chef Blondie has done. – If it worked for her, it certainly can work for you.

Please note that the recipe provided here contains four separate sets of instructions. The first set is the most important. It describes how to prepare the salsa itself using the Farmhouse Salsa Mix and a few other ingredients.

The next three sets of instructions explain three different ways of storing the salsa: in the refrigerator, in the freezer, and long-term storage by processing and canning. – The choice of methods is yours.

1. Level of the homemade salsa challenge

Because the Farmhouse Salsa Mix is already prepared and ready to go, the challenge on preparation day is minimal. Yes, you must scald, skin, core, and chop the tomatoes. And yes, you may have to mince some garlic, but these are but minor tasks.

2. Selection of good-quality salsa ingredients

It’s up to you to source good tomatoes. They can be fresh, frozen, or canned. In fact, when the Test Kitchen conducted this test, Chef Blondie used both fresh and frozen tomatoes.

3. Use of cooking and canning techniques

The Test Kitchen Staff is renowned for their adherence to the best kitchen practices. Cleanliness and technique are the watchwords for all when they conduct a test. On this test day, the staff was doubly aware of their practices because they knew I, Persnickety Pierre, had my eye on them. – Their every move was the epitome of high culinary art.

4. Development of superior salsa taste and flavor

There is only one way to be sure that you have developed superior salsa taste and flavor – hold an open and honest taste test. And so, a taste test was held in the kitchen of Daughter #2. (You might recall that she received two Persnickety Pierre’s Paw of Excellence Awards – See the post here.) The official judges were Daughter #2 and Son-in-Law #2. I also tasted the salsa, but I recused myself because of my close association with the SFH Test Kitchen.

5. Presentation of homemade salsa & the judges’ decision

Immediately upon our arrival, Daughter #2 quickly set a tasting table. She was quite wise in using cup-shaped chips. They are perfect for getting just the right amount of salsa with each chip. – Then the kitchen went totally silent. The tasting had begun.

I dare not attempt to repeat the compliments or describe the sounds which happy tasting judges make when they encounter a salsa that truly matches their high expectations. Let me merely state two things. First neither official judge had anything but praise for the salsa. Next, when Chef Blondie said the she would take the salsa jar and remaining contents home with her, both of the judges quickly and quite adamantly said that the salsa would stay with them.

So, there you have it! Chef Blondie accepted my challenge. And because she did, two happy tasting judges, the entire SFH TK Staff, and I, Pierre LeChat, are much happier people now.

Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa

Why settle for second best when you can have your very own homemade salsa? In the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen, we never, ever settle for second best. This salsa shows what can be done when you follow that rule.
Cuisine American
Servings 5 pints


  • 6 lbs. fresh tomatoes (about 18 medium) - substitute frozen or canned tomatoes; 6 cans (14.5 oz each) petite diced regular or low sodium tomatoes, undrained
  • 3.8 oz Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix mild, medium, or hot depending on which option was selected when preparing the salsa mix
  • ½ cup White Distilled Vinegar (5% acidity) or cider vinegar (5% acidity)


  • Wash tomatoes. Scald for 3 minutes in boiling water
  • Dip into cold water.
  • Cut out cores. Remove skins. Chop tomatoes coarsely. This should yield about 10 cups tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, do not drain liquid.
  • Combine tomatoes, white distilled vinegar and Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix in a large non-reactive saucepan. Do not use aluminum.
  • Bring mixture to a boil. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Your Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa is ready!

Immediate Use Instructions

  • Pour into containers and let cool. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Freezing Instructions

  • Pour into freeze-safe containers and let cool. Store covered in freezer up to 1 year. Store thawed product in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Canning Instructions

  • Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions for sterilized jars.
  • Pour hot salsa into clean hot pint canning jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rip and cap each jar as it is filled.
  • Process jars for 40 minutes* in boiling water bath canner. Turn off heat, carefully remove canner lid, and let jars stand for 5 minutes in canner.
    *Processing time listed is for altitudes less than 1000 feet. At altitudes of 1000 feet or more, increase processing time 1 minute for each 1000 feet of altitude.
  • Remove jars. Let jars sit undisturbed to cool at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
  • Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer's directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within 1 week. Use shelf-stable product within 1 year.


SERVING SUGGESTION - Persnickety Pierre says: "Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa is not intended for the solitary soul. Rather, it is for that festive occasion when family and friends are gathered together. - That it was why it won my challenge!"
homemade salsa
Keyword Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa

How to Make Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix

For more than eight years, we’ve searched for the secret of how to make the best possible Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix. We are now on the verge of unlocking that secret. Come join with our Test Kitchen staff as we go through the final round of tests. Your taste buds will be glad you did. And you will find out about Pierre’s challenge.

The Quest for Perfect Farmhouse Salsa Mix

Salsa mix

When I started to write this post, I asked the basic question: What is salsa? Hubby replied with a tedious response worthy of the Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia.

I responded by simply saying, “We’ve all had salsa, we know what it is, and we know what we like. Our Test Kitchen can make a salsa mix that will work every time.”

Our beloved Pierre LeChat, skeptic that he is, countered both of us with a challenge:

Really? What does the Test Kitchen have to show for eight years of experimentation and testing! Allow me to be the judge of the quality of your Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix!”

Pierre had thrown down the gauntlet. We had to put up or shut up.

5 Criteria for Excellent Farmhouse Salsa Mix

1. Level of the challenge

Every year, SFH produces between 12 to 30 pints of salsa. Each batch of 5 to 6 pints has had a slightly different recipe. This year, we wanted to standardize the basic recipe in the form of a mix. To the extent possible, the mix would use dehydrated vegetables and herbs from our own gardens. This meant we had to do three important things:

  • 1st – Ensure that our gardens produce sufficient quantities of needed vegetables and herbs.
  • 2nd – Develop the skills needed to dry/dehydrate the SFH-produced ingredients.
  • 3rd – Determine the proper ratio of ingredients for the salsa mix.

2. Selection of good-quality ingredients

Our Test Kitchen staff knew up front that the SFH gardens would never support production of all the needed ingredients. Consequently, we worked hard to source ingredients of the highest quality. We well understand that this effort is not ‘just once and done.’ – Most anything can be improved. Our Farmhouse Salsa Mix ingredients will always be under review.

3. Use of cooking techniques

The primary technique employed in preparing our salsa mix is dehydrating. For the present, that includes dehydrating jalapeños and other hot peppers. Eventually it will include drying garlic and turning it into garlic powder.

A secondary technique employs vacuum packing ingredients in mason jars for long-term storage. This is needed to store individual ingredients and the prepared salsa mix itself.

You can see some of our early work developing these skills in our posts Hot Peppers Above & Beyond, SFH-TK Skills – Herbs, and Crisis Averted in Rainy Day Catch Up.

4. Development of superior taste and flavor

As I said earlier, “We’ve all had salsa, we know what it is, and we know what we like.” But that doesn’t mean everyone likes the same thing. Our Test Kitchen had to produce a recipe that would satisfy the broadest spectrum of tastes. But more importantly, the recipe had to satisfy my Hubby and me. Certainly, it also had to be a hit with our children and grandchildren.

So, we reviewed literally hundreds of recipes on the Web and in cookbooks. That gave us a few general ideas.

We also looked at the three big makers of packaged salsa mix. We saw what ingredients they shared in common. Then we looked at which ingredients set them apart. This table shows some of what we learned.

We grow our own jalapeños, and they are great in salsa. So, even though only one company uses them in their mix, we knew they had to be in our mix too.

Despite all the research, our success depended on the most important factor of all – test, test, and test again. The Test Kitchen had to determine the optimum ingredient quantities and ratios. It’s been a long haul, and we’re not finished yet. But the recipe we’re giving you today will work.

5. How to Use Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix

While this may be just a mix in a mason jar, it is a mix with a message. That message is – this mix that will provide you great-tasting salsa anytime you want it. You can:

  • Make fresh salsa that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freeze salsa and store it for up to a year.
  • Use it for canning salsa that can be stored up to 18 months.

What Will Pierre think of Our Mix?

On July 21st, we put together our latest version of Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix. On the 23rd, we put the mix to the test. We used the mix along with our own tomatoes and fresh garlic. Instead of the five pints we expected, we were able to can six full pints. After canning, there was just enough left over for Pierre to taste.

In our next post, Pierre will tell his tasting tale. Then, he will recommend how the entire world should rank Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa mix. This will be one post you don’t want to miss.

Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix

Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix

For more than eight years, we've searched for the secret of how to make the best possible Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix. We are now on the verge of unlocking that secret. Come join with our Test Kitchen staff as we go through the final round of tests. Your taste buds will be glad you did.
Cuisine American
Servings 14 pints


  • ¾ Cup Diced & dried red & green bell peppers (You can use just red or green if you desire.)
  • ¾ Cup Dehydrated jalapeño peppers (You can substitute other types of hot peppers.)
  • ¾ Cup Dehydrated onions
  • ¼ Cup Canning salt (We use Mrs. Wages® Pickling and Canning Salt.)
  • ¼ Cup Chili pepper (Substitute chili powder if desired. Note that the powder contains additional spices.)
  • ¼ Cup Garlic powder (Substitute minced garlic if desired when actually canning. Do not add fresh garlic to the dry mix!)


  • Assemble and measure all ingredients. Crush dehydrated jalapeño. (We used a mortar and pestle to crush the peppers.)
  • Mix ingredients thoroughly.
  • Store in airtight container until time of use.


Mild Mix: Use 1 ¼ cup diced & dried red & green bell peppers & ¼ cup dehydrated jalapeño peppers.
Hot Mix: Use ¼ cup diced & dried red & green bell peppers & 1 ¼ cup dehydrated jalapeño peppers.
Keyword salsa mix

Spicy Dilly Beans @ Serendipity Farmhouse

Have you ever wondered what spicy dilly beans are? Well, they’re simply pickled green beans that are flavored with dill, garlic, and spicy pepper flakes. But there’s more to it than that. In this post, the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen takes a look at how to pickle green beans. More importantly, the Test Kitchen staff learns a few lessons along the way and shares them with you in this post.

Hi! Chef Blondie here! – Perhaps your home gardens are similar to what we have on our vast 1.203-acre estate. If so, you probably have the ingredients you need to pickle spicy dilly beans. But, even if you don’t have a garden, all the ingredients are in season and readily available. Now is the best time to learn how to make this delicious treat.

This is my first food preserving post of the season. So, it’s worthwhile to review some of the basics. Allow me to recommend some authoritative food preserving resources that have served the SFH Test Kitchen very well:

1. Spicy Dilly Beans – Level of the challenge

Pickling is not a difficult process. It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. There is a quick pickling process and there is a canned pickle method. The recipe we used is the canned pickle method. It uses a stronger brine and a water-bath canning process to extend shelf life. – This is one of the simplest recipes we use in the SFH Test Kitchen.

2. good-quality ingredients for Spicy Dilly Beans

Produce & Herbs: Ingredients are very important to the process of pickling. Using produce and herbs straight from the garden is the best way to go. If you don’t have your own produce and herbs on hand, check out your local farmers’ market or a nearby community supported agriculture (CSA) outlet. – We used our own green beans, garlic, and dill.

Salt: Salt is an integral part of many pickling processes and flavor twists. Canning or pickling salt that does not contain iodine or non-caking material is ideal. – We used mrs. wages Pickling & Canning Salt for this pickling session. It produces a very clear brine.

Distilled Vinegar: Use apple cider or white distilled vinegar, but the pickles may taste best with the recommended type in the recipe. Apple cider vinegar is milder and offers a different flavor note than white distilled vinegar. – Remember, whichever vinegar you select should be at least five percent acetic acid.

3. Use of cooking techniques

My friends, this is where I and the entire Test Kitchen staff strongly recommend that you stick to the best practices for pickling and canning. For a review of those best practices, click here. – If you follow these guidelines, it will build your confidence and give you great results.

4. Development of superior Dilly Bean taste and flavor

If you’ve selected the best ingredients and have followed best practices, this recipe won’t fail. The flavor will be there. – Should you have family members or friends who prefer less spicy food, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes, or leave them out completely.

5. Presentation of Spicy Dilly Beans

Spicy dilly beans look great on a charcuterie tray. They also work well as a side to a light summer lunch or snack. It doesn’t matter much how you arrange them. That’s because they won’t remain there very long.

6. Lessons learned

The soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen takes great pride in its work and its achievements. We strive for culinary perfection. And we do that by critiquing ourselves and learning from our mistakes and through constant study. Here are three lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Store Jars Without Ring Bands

The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) recommends that jars be stored without ring bands to keep them dry as well as to allow for easier detection of any broken vacuum seals. However, if you choose to re-apply the ring bands, make sure all surfaces are clean and thoroughly dry first.

No Need for Alum or Pickle Crisp

Some recipes for pickled dilly beans call for either alum or Ball Pickle Crisp to add crispness. The NCHFP article Preparing and Canning Fermented and Pickled Foods advises that alum may be safely used to firm fermented pickles. However, alum and Ball Pickle Crisp are not necessary for pickling dilly beans. 

Heat the Water Bath Faster

Heating up the water bath can take a long time and slow down canning. We’ve learned to heat some of the water in an electric kettle. It cuts the overall heating time by half.

  • spicy dilly beans

    Spicy Dilly Beans

    Have you ever wondered what spicy dilly beans are? Well, they're simply pickled green beans that are flavored with dill, garlic, and spicy pepper flakes. But there's more to it than that. In our accompanying post, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen takes a look at how to pickle green beans.
    Course Appetizer
    Cuisine American
    Servings 4 pints


    • 1 Boiling-water canner with rack
    • 1 Jar lifter
    • 1 Bubble remover or headspace tool
    • 1 Jar funnel
    • 4 1-pint Mason jars with new lids


    • 2 pounds green beans
    • ¼ cup Ball Salt for Pickling & Preserving
    • 2 ½ cups vinegar 5% acidity
    • 2 ½ cups water
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 4 heads fresh dill or ¼ cup dill seed
    • Ball Pickle Crisp optional



    • Wash green beans under cold running water & drain. Trim ends off green beans.Peel garlic and crush or slice thinly.
      spicy dilly beans
    • Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.


    • Combine salt, vinegar, and water in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer (180°F); simmer 10 minutes.
      spicy dilly beans


    • Pack green beans lengthwise into a hot jar, leaving ½-inch headspace. Add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 head of dill or 2 teaspoons dill seed. Add ⅛ teaspoon Pickle Crisp to pint jar or ¼ teaspoon Pickle Crisp to quart jar, if desired.
    • Ladle hot pickling liquid over green beans, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and adjust band to fingertip-tight. Place jar on the rack elevated over simmering water (180°F) in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
      spicy dilly beans


    • Lower the rack into simmering water. Water must cover jars by 1 inch. Adjust heat to medium-high, cover canner and bring water to a rolling boil. Process pint or quart jars 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool 5 minutes.
    • Remove jars from canner; do not re-tighten bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Check seals. Label and store jars.
      spicy dilly beans

Back Porch Baby Back BBQ

What could be better than baby back ribs for the 4th of July? Here at Serendipity Farmhouse, the answer is nothing could be better. For eight years, we’ve used our special back porch baby back rib recipe. We’ve enjoyed it, refined it, and perfected it.

Whether it be for honored guests, for close family, or just for Blondie and me, this recipe has never failed. And today, I’m going to share our family tradition with you.

Let’s Get Cooking!

Okay. I’ve donned my official SFH Test Kitchen Chef’s apron. I’m ready to go out onto the back porch. It’s hot and humid out there! (After all, this is Virginia in July.) But I’m not worried about that. Nope! – With the exception of little bit of up-front tender loving care, I won’t be out on that hot deck for long.

Allow me to lay out for you our baby back rib BBQ cooking secrets using Persnickety Pierre’s Criteria of Excellence.

1. Level of the challenge

We originally came across the basic recipe for Foolproof Baby Back Ribs at It worked well for us, but we soon realized tweaks and changes were in order. We had a good recipe in hand. Our challenge was to make it better.

A large part of our testing would be focused on documenting the proper cooking temperatures. That’s because the original recipe was not specific. – If the goal is to have a good recipe that’s repeatable, it’s necessary to eliminate as many variables as possible. Temperature is a tremendously important variable. So, our big challenge was determining and documenting the cooking temperatures that would bring about consistent results.

2. Selection of good-quality ingredients – It’s the Baby Back Ribs

Our Test Kitchen staff emphasizes that proper sourcing of the baby back ribs is critical. We’ve found that the ribs sold at Sam’s Club are consistently high in quality and they are affordable. – Make sure you shop around and get the best in quality and price.

3. Use of cooking techniques

Earlier, I talked about not being concerned about the heat on the deck. That’s because the first steps in cooking the ribs are minimal. The ribs will spend an hour cooking, and they should remain covered. All you need to do is check the temperature of your covered grill periodically (Every 10 to 15 minutes).

When you preheat the grill, try to get to 450℉. Once the ribs are on the upper rack of the grill and the cover is in place, let the temperature drop to about 350℉. That’s where the temperature should remain for the entire first hour.

Note 1: Suppose it’s a rainy day or a blizzard is heading your way. This recipe can be adapted for use in your kitchen oven.

Note 2: If you want to cook some corn on the cob like we did, feel free to open the cover and quickly place the corn on the lower rack. When you do the periodic temperature checks, quickly turn over the corn and close the lid immediately.

Except for a few temperature checks, you can vacate the hot deck and seek out a cool place to relax.

For sweet Wife and me, that means it’s time to enjoy the SFH signature drink – The Serendipity Cocktail! (See: French Cuisine & GRITS)

4. Development of superior taste and flavor

Pay attention to the spices you choose for the rub. For example, my dear, sweet Blondie has trouble with some types of garlic powder. To avoid this problem, we have substituted onion powder in the rub. – Voila! That solved Blondie’s problem and good flavor is retained.

Consider the personal tastes of your guests and their dietary preferences. Be prepared to modify the ingredients for the rub accordingly.

5. Presentation of the Baby Back Ribs

Remember, this is a 4th of July or other summer holiday meal. Presentation is not the primary concern. However, keep a large supply of paper napkins or paper towels nearby.

Happy cooking!

Back Porch Baby Back Ribs

What could be better than baby back ribs for the 4th of July? Here at Serendipity Farmhouse, the answer is nothing could be better. For eight years, we've used our special back porch baby back rib recipe. We've enjoyed it, refined it, and perfected it. - Whether it be for honored guests, for close family, or just for Blondie and me, this recipe has never failed.
Note: This recipe can be adapted for use in a kitchen oven.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Gas grill or oven


  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion powder You can substitute garlic powder.
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3 lbs pork baby back ribs
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce Use your favorite or make your own.


  • Place aluminum foil on lower rack to capture drippings and prevent flare-ups.
  • Preheat gas grill for high heat. (Try to get to 450℉)
  • In a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper Mix well.
  • Trim off the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. You can do this by running a small, sharp knife between the membrane and snip or "shimmy" off the membrane as much as possible. (We prefer just to slit the membrane between the bones.)
  • Sprinkle or "throw" as much of the rub onto both sides of the ribs as desired. Do not rub the spices in, because the ribs will turn too dark and spicy. You may have some spices leftover, depending on your taste.
  • Brush grate with oil, and lay ribs on top rack of grill.
  • Reduce heat to 350℉, shut grill, and leave undisturbed for 1 hour. Try not to lift lid at all during this time period! Check temperature every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • After one hour check for doneness, depending on your grill you may need to continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes (our grill takes one hour exactly). Brush ribs with barbecue sauce and grill an additional 15 to 30 minutes until sauce is slightly absorbed and a little brown around the edges.
  • Serve ribs as whole rack or cut between bones and pile individual ribs on the platter or plate.
Keyword Baby Back Ribs

Muffins to Cheer up My Day

When my heart is filled with concerns for family and friends, it helps to work in my kitchen and make sourdough muffins. Following the recipe, mixing the ingredients, cleaning up afterwards, all of that gives me time to think and pray. Baking banana nut muffins adds a needed quiet time to cheer up my day.

There are times when it’s better for the staff of the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen to take a day off. I need some time alone. Just leave the cooking to me.

This week there was such a day. I had received texts, emails, and phone calls. My loved ones needed prayers. So, I retired to the kitchen and prayed as I tested a new sourdough starter muffin recipe.

Testing Amy’s Sourdough Banana Nut Muffins Recipe

About a week ago, I posted a recipe for what I called The Best Cranberry Sourdough Muffins. Since then, Hubby and I have continued to search for ways to make best use of our sourdough starter discard. Recently, we found a recipe for Sourdough Banana Nut Muffins by Amy at little spoon farm. – Using Persnickety Pierre’s Criteria of Excellence, let’s see why this recipe will become a regular here at the SFH Test Kitchen.

1. Level of the Banana Nut sourdough muffins challenge

This recipe is a bit more involved than Daisy’s Cranberry Muffins. There are more ingredients and more steps to follow. Nevertheless, there is nothing out of the ordinary here. The biggest challenge to this recipe is restraining yourself from eating the entire batch of muffins yourself.

2. Selection of good-quality ingredients

Supposing that your sourdough starter discard is ready to go, all the ingredients you will need should already be in your kitchen or pantry. Well, almost all. Ripe bananas are the flavor attraction in this recipe, and you can’t do without them.

3. Use of cooking techniques

Take it slow! Pay attention to the order in which ingredients are mixed and combined. This is the best part for me. Watching it all come together provides the satisfaction and peace one can experience while cooking.

4. Development of superior taste and flavor

I found that this recipe is well balanced and delivers the banana nut flavor advertised in its name. The only minor variation I made was using light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar.

5. Presentation

I chose to serve myself a single muffin with a hot cup of freshly made black tea. The muffin and tea were a morning snack on my deck. From there I could look out on my yard and vegetable gardens.

A bluebird had decided to sit on a fence post and share with me his enjoyment of the morning sun and gentle breeze. As for the texts, emails, and phone calls that had troubled my mind, I’ve done what I could do. – It’s in His hands now.

What if you make more muffins than you need?

The condition of your sourdough discard and the level to which you fill the spaces on your muffin pan may have an effect on the number of muffins rendered by this recipe. In my test case, I ended up with 18 muffins, many more than the expected dozen.

As we chefs, bakers, and home cooks have learned, it’s beneficial to have good friends and neighbors who like to share in what you make. Within minutes of baking these delicious sourdough banana nut muffins, a half dozen of them were in the care of a dear neighbor and her daughter.

A little time in the kitchen, makes up for hours and days of useless worries.

Sourdough Banana Nut Muffins Recipe

This recipe by Amy at Little Spoon Farm is one that you will want to share with your friends. It's fun to make and the muffins will brighten up your morning. Who knew you could make something this good with your sourdough starter discard?
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American


  • Muffin tin
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Spatula



  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup (200 g) dark brown sugar see notes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 (350 g) very ripe bananas about 1 cup, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (125 g) sourdough starter discard


  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (125 g) walnuts chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and line a 12 count muffin tin with paper liners, or lightly grease.
  • Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, use a fork to mash the bananas until smooth.
  • Melt the butter in a mixing bowl and add the dark brown sugar. Use a spatula to cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, mashed banana, sour cream, sourdough discard and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with the spatula until just combined. (Do not over mix!) Gently fold in ⅔ cup of the chopped walnuts.
  • Divide the batter into the muffin tin and sprinkle the remaining ⅓ cup of chopped walnuts on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack.


  • The condition of your sourdough discard and the level to which you fill the muffin pan may effect the number of muffins rendered by this recipe. In our case, we ended up with 18 muffins.
  • For a more thorough set of notes, refer to the original recipe at: Sourdough Banana Nut Muffins - Little Spoon Farm 

The Best Cranberry Sourdough Muffins

If you have leftover sourdough starter, follow this recipe to make the best cranberry sourdough muffins ever. They’re super easy to make and they give a delightful lift to a simple breakfast or afternoon tea. (Especially when smothered with butter!) Here at Serendipity Farmhouse, we have a special name for these delicious treats – Daisy’s Cranberry Muffins.

farmhouse food

Now that the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen is experimenting with sourdough, we have a problem. We have too much sourdough starter and we don’t want to waste the excess. After extensive research, we’ve found several recipes for extra starter that would otherwise be discarded. The recipe for Daisy’s Cranberry Muffins is our favorite so far.

Testing Daisy’s Cranberry Sourdough Muffins

We didn’t arrive at success with this recipe overnight. My Test Kitchen staff started with a very good base recipe for Blueberry Sourdough Muffins from the King Arthur Baking site. After a few tests and several adjustments, the staff came up with the recipe that has become our standard of excellence.

Using Persnickety Pierre’s Criteria of Excellence, let’s take a closer look at what makes Daisy’s recipe work so well.

1. Level of the cranberry sourdough muffins challenge

King Arthur has developed a very good basic recipe. It’s easy to follow, and the results are consistent. Additionally, the recipe is versatile and allows for easy changes.

2. Selection of good-quality ingredients

With the exception of three items, ingredients used in Daisy’s Cranberry Sourdough Muffins are familiar standards. Our Test Kitchen staff has found King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour to be reliable and consistent in quality. With regard to dried cranberries, there are many good products available. We recommend that you pay close attention to the expiration date on the package.

Needless to say, make sure that your sourdough starter discard is either ripe (fed) or still relatively fresh. After all, this is the star ingredient for your muffins.

As an aside, many of us who are into sourdough, give names to our starter. Being Downton Abbey fans, this was a no-brainer. Our starter is known as Mrs. Patmore, named after the senior cook at Downton Abbey.

It only made sense to name the sourdough starter discard after Mrs. Patmore’s assistant cook, Daisy Mason.

Sourdough Starter

3. Use of cooking techniques

If you’ve made muffins before, this will be a cinch. Only regular muffin making techniques are used.

4. Development of superior taste and flavor

There was only one point where the Test Kitchen staff decided to make a significant change. The recipe calls for one cup of yellow cornmeal. We determined that was too much for our taste. So, we cut the amount by half and compensated by adding more flour.

During our first test of the recipe, we had no blueberries on hand. That’s when we elected to use dried cranberries. The addition of the cranberries brought about a satisfying burst of flavor. We were so delighted with the result that we’ve decided to stick with cranberries in the future. Of course, blueberries and other types of berries, such as currents, might give you results better suited to your personal taste.

5. Presentation

I’m sorry, but I can’t comment on presentation yet. These muffins have a knack of finding their way directly to the table. The duration of their presence on the table is usually no more than a few seconds. Consequently, there’s no reason to make a big deal over presentation.

What if you don’t have sourdough Starter?

So, you don’t have any starter? Well, there are several ways of going about getting some or making your own. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you have a friend who’s into sourdough baking, ask for a gift of one cup of starter and read up on how to feed and care for it.
  • Should you want to start from scratch and do it yourself, there are many YouTube videos and blog posts with all the information you need. – Here’s a link to a post describing How to Make a Sourdough Starter offered by Farmhouse on Boone.
  • Suppose you think some of this is too complicated. Well, you can purchase starter kits that come with fresh sourdough or sourdough cultures. They usually provide a good set of instructions. Here are links to two examples: Classic Fresh Sourdough Starter & Cultures for Health San Francisco Sourdough.

To quote Jacques Pépin: “Happy cooking!”

cranberry sourdough muffins

Daisy's Cranberry Sourdough Muffins

Make the best cranberry muffins ever with your sourdough starter discard. This recipe is super easy and the muffins taste great.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Afternoon Tea, Breakfast
Cuisine American


  • cups (180g) unbleached all-purpose flour We use King Arthur
  • ½ cup (69g) yellow cornmeal, preferably whole grain
  • ¾ teaspoon salt We use sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed) or discard
  • ¼ cup (57g) milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (50g) vegetable oil We use Canola oil
  • ½ cup (170g) honey
  • 1 cup (170g) dried cranberries up to 2 cups if desired
  • Demerara sugar or coarse sparkling sugar, for sprinkling tops if desired


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the inside of the papers.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • In a second bowl, beat together the starter, milk, egg, vegetable oil, and sweetener. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry, taking about 20 seconds. Gently stir in the cranberries just until blended.
  • Fill the cups of the prepared pan two-thirds full. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar.
  • Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Don't let them cool in the pan, or they'll steam and the outside will become tough.
Keyword Muffins, Sourdough

How to Enjoy S&B Golden Curry

I placed the small serving bowl filled with S&B Golden Curry at the center of the table. Beside it was a pot of steaming sticky rice. Side dishes of sliced cheddar cheese, dill pickles, and corn chips sat around the curry. Four of us sat down at the table, Daughter #2 was already in her highchair. We were ready to eat our favorite comfort food, S&B Golden Curry with beef and onions. Unfortunately for my Hubby, this would not be a regular meal.

The Attack of the Curry Monster

For several years, this particular dish had been our family favorite. Although the meal is based on a store-bought mix, over the years, we had adapted the meal with our own selection of spices and sides (e.g. cayenne, garam masala, curry powder, corn chips, dill pickles, and cheddar cheese).

We knew that one pack of curry mix would feed the entire family. In fact, there was always enough for dear Hubby to have seconds.

S&B Golden Curry

Well, on this particular evening that all ended. When the serving bowls were passed around, Son #1, took a larger portion of sticky rice than usual. Hubby looked on with concern. Then, when Son #1 had the curry bowl in his hands, he scooped an enormous portion of the curry sauce and covered the mound of rice from end-to-end.

I could see Hubby’s jaw drop and then tighten. I could read his every thought. And his every thought was right. When the serving bowls finally got to him, there was barely enough to feed our parakeet Elijah. – There would be no seconds for Hubby tonight!

It was a little boy who had come to the table that day and it was a full-fledged Curry Monster that walked away.

S&B Golden Curry – What You Need to Know

A special thanks to Hubby for doing the background research for this section.

A couple of points up front. The soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen is not sponsored by any commercial entity. The Test Kitchen gets nothing for recommending any product. – You can be sure if we say something good about a product, we mean it.

Next, if it seems that you have read about S&B Golden Curry in this blog before, you have. (See: El Camino Del Monte – Cooking with Gas and What’s Your Favorite Comfort Food?)

We have two reasons for publishing this post.

  • First, we never gave you our full, official Test Kitchen recipe before. We feel it would be a great service to our almost-huge audience to do so.
  • Second, this year, S&B Foods is celebrating its 100th anniversary. S&B Golden Curry has been the basic ingredient for literally hundreds of our family meals for almost half of that 100 years. We think that it’s only fitting for Serendipity Farmhouse to celebrate along with the folks at S&B.

今年で エスビー食品100周年!- A Little History

S&B Golden Curry

Curry spice did not come to Japan directly from India. Rather, it was introduced to Japan in its European form by the British during the Meiji Era (1868–1912)

In 1923, just a bit before Serendipity Farmhouse was built, Yamazaki Minejiro (山崎峯次郎), created Japan’s first domestic version of curry powder. The success of the spice blend, a “culinary masterpiece of its time”, led Yamazaki to found the Higashiya Company, which was rebranded S&B Foods Co. Ltd. in 1949.

S&B Golden curry was introduced into our household in the early 1970’s. It is now the SFH-TK Golden Standard.

What’s inside the S&B Golden Curry Package?

Inside the S&B Golden Curry package you will find 3.2 oz. of curry mix. The ingredients include: Wheat flour, Vegetable oils (Palm oil, Rapeseed oil), Salt, Sugar, Curry powder, Monosodium glutamate, Caramel color, Malic acid, Pepper, Chili pepper, Garlic, Disodium guanylate, Disodium inosinate, Celery seed, Mustard. – We’ll let you be the judge if any of these ingredients do not fit your dietary preferences.

What the mix does not contain is any form of meat or fish. This means it can be used with no concerns as the base for a meatless meal.

S&B Golden Curry

Is There an Alternative to the Mix?

Perhaps you want to experiment and prepare your curry a little more from scratch. Or, perhaps you want to avoid some of the ingredients in the Golden Curry mix. Well, the alternative is quite simple. Use the original spice blend created by Yamazaki Minejiro.

You will find that the names of the ingredients are all pronounceable. Here’s what’s in the container: Turmeric, Coriander, Fenugreek, Cumin, Orange Peel, Pepper, Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Fennel, Ginger, Star Anise, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Cloves, Nutmeg, Sage, Cardamom.

S&B Golden Curry Mix is Versatile

I don’t mean to go on-and-on, but there’s so much our family has done with this curry mix. The recipe at the end of this article will give you our most frequent rendition. However, there have been times when we have had to make wild changes to our recipe. For example, Son-in-law #1 is not on speaking terms with most known vegetables, especially onions. Consequently, when we introduced him to our traditional family meal, we substituted onions and beef with mushrooms and shrimp. – He’s been eating S&B Golden curry on a regular basis ever since.

Our three children each have their own particular version of curry. But each version is based on S&B Golden curry mix. – We have heard anecdotes from our children that the spawning of the Curry Monster in 1981 was not a singular incident. – Beware! There are Curry Monsters everywhere!

(We have referred the recent uptick in Curry Monster sightings to the world-renowned kaiju researcher, the Toku Professor. See some of his most classified studies here. Perhaps he can determine to what extent the world’s curry supply is threatened.)

By the way, this product’s versatility is complimented by its variety. S&B Golden Curry mix is sold in three levels of spiciness, mild, medium, and hot. We almost always use the medium and add cayenne and other curry powders to increase the heat.

Is S&B Golden Curry Mix Affordable?

There’s no need to discuss inflation here, but it’s always important to keep meal preparation costs down. S&B Golden Curry Mix can be found in many major grocery chains. Here are links to current prices at Walmart (here) and Amazon (here). Do your own homework – it’s up to you.


Now you have some basic knowledge of S&B Golden Curry and how it is intertwined with our family history. The Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen continually experiments and tinkers with variations. We’ll keep you informed on our adventures with this product and with other secrets we brought back with us from our years in Japan.

If you would like to see a Japanese perspective on S&B Golden Curry, watch this YouTube video from Kenji’s Kitchen (here). You’ll see that the SFH-TK is not alone in it’s appreciation of this curry mix.

S&B Golden Curry

S&B Golden Curry - Our Way

This is the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen recipe for preparing curry rice using Medium Hot S&B Golden Curry mix. This recipe has been used by our family for over 40 years. It's stood the test of time with children and grandchildren. With a track record like that, it's got to be good!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 5


  • Large, deep skillet


  • 1 lb. Beef, cut into cubes Chicken, Lamb, Shrimp are optional
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2⅓ Cups Water Beef or chicken broth optional
  • 1 pack S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tsp Ginger, minced
  • 1 Tsp Garam masala spice mix Commercial or home-mixed
  • 1 Pinch Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tsp Other types of curry powder


  • Stir-fry beef with olive oil, garlic, ginger, and other spices in a large skillet on medium heat for approx. 5 min.
  • Add water (or broth) and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until ingredients are tender, approx. 15min.
  • Turn down the heat, break S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix into pieces and add them to the skillet. Stir until sauce mixes are completely melted. Simmer approx. 5 min., stirring continually.
  • Serve hot over Japanese-style sticky rice. (Our dear friend Reiko insisted that Calrose Rice was the best.)