From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
JeffreyW posted his photo of cast iron baked beans a while back and all I could think was, “great idea, why haven’t I tried that?” I debated between posting about cast iron recipes or baked beans. With Memorial Day coming up fast, it seemed like a good time to bring back a bunch of baked bean recipes.
There was no real cooking in my kitchen this week, I’m uninspired while I house hunt. Luckily, I keep a lot of frozen meals, marinated meats and sauces in my freezer. I double batch much of what I cook and freeze for later. Boil up some fresh pasta or rice and I’ve got a quick meal. But I did get to a Bixby update for the pet lovers, he’s relaxin’ and chillin’ for your amusement here.
On to the recipes:
I like linking to JeffreyW’s recipes (rather than embedding them in the post) because he writes a narrative of the process instead of simply listing the recipe and often includes a batch of photos to illustrate. His Cast Iron Baked Beans recipe (click here) is no exception. It would silly to abridge it here.
I had these baked beans at a cookout and absolutely needed the recipe. Turns out it is just a few ingredients that spices up a simple can of baked beans and adds a touch of sweet, too. Nita’s Baked Beans, recipe here.
If baked beans aren’t your thing, how about Butter Beans and Greens (recipe here), since in many backyard gardens, the collards, mustard greens and spinach should be ready for spring harvest.
What’s on your plate this weekend? Do you have a dish that everyone asks for the recipe when you take it to gatherings? And do you give it out? Have any dishes you had to have the recipe after tasting it at a cookout or potluck?
The featured recipe tonight is savory, sweet. smoky and oven baked. Who knew molasses could be so good?
Baked Beans Photo by JeffreyW
And if you want a true New England experience, add some Brown Bread, recipe here. Brown bread was a childhood treat that I didn’t realized until later was unique to New England (at least at that time). My mom would fry it up in a skillet, served with lots of butter, maple syrup and baked beans.
Boston Baked Beans
This serves 8, but you can easily double it for large gatherings. The slow cooking, white beans and molasses are what give these baked beans their signature flavor.
1 pound (2 cups) dried white beans (Great Northern or navy beans)
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup (or 2 tbsp tomato paste)
1 tbsp dry mustard
1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into pieces
4 cups water, or more if necessary
1/4 tsp salt (more may be needed, but start here)
1/4 tsp pepper
large dutch oven, bean pot or heavy duty oven proof pot
Soak the beans overnight, drain, and rinse them. (Here at high altitude, soaking doesn’t do much, so I pressure cook them for 20 minutes instead, then let them soak for an hour)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Put the beans in a large, ovenproof pot. Add the onions, brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, mustard, and bacon. Add water, salt, and pepper. Return the beans to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven.
Cook the beans for 4 hours, checking them every hour to see if the pan seems dry. Add more water as needed, ½ cup at a time.
Add more salt and pepper, if you like, and let the beans sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Note: To reheat leftovers, add more water and cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until hot.
Missing the full dinner menus and shopping lists? If you click here, it will take you to all the ones I have posted. That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend. – TaMara
Culture of Truth
I have all these in the house except molasses. That shit is dangerous.
I’m more of a butter beans and greens person than baked beans. Thanks for the link and the inspiration. I need to make some.
You know that food that makes you kind of queasy just thinking about it.
That’s baked beans for me.
Mike in NC
Wife’s a big fan of author Pat Conroy. He has a cookbook with a couple of really good crabcake recipes. Tonight we tried his ‘Great Santini Oyster Casserole’ which was very tasty, but I think we didn’t use enough oysters.
Tomorrow I replant the egg plant and pepper plants that the varmits ate.
I love baked beans! These look so good. When I was a kid in California, Mom often served B&M baked beans with B&M brown bread (from a can). So it was not just for you New Englanders.
I just use the Durgin Park recipe.
ETA: The old one, when I was there recently the beans seemed sweeter – I think they modified the recipe.
Did anyone else grow up with baked bean sandwiches? Slice ‘o bread, baked beans from a can, strips of fried bacon, slice ‘o cheese. Throw in oven and then top brown (usually until half-burned). Loved them as a kid. Make them occasionally now. I try to not burn them.
@efgoldman: Recently is relative. It was several years ago.
@gbear: My great grandmother used to eat them.
@Omnes Omnibus: Was she from WI too? I wonder if it’s a regional sandwich?
@gbear: She was from Wisconsin, yes. But I think those sandwiches were a function of being a descendant of New England Yankees.
I think it:s a British/English thing. At least “baked beans on toast” is, which is same/similar.
Alas, I never got to try American beans. I remember it was being served to a bunch of us Asian journos at a buffet dinner in — was it Rochester, Minnesota, or Boston, or Orlando? I can’t remember, after nearly 20 years. I asked the catering worker which dishes had pork, and he pointed out the beans. Dang.
@Steeplejack (phone): My great grandmother’s heritage was entirely pre-1640 Puritan immigrant, so the English factors in. I was a bit in awe (nost say scared) of her. I was only about seven when she died, but I remembered her as a big woman* with wild white hair who read Kenneth Roberts novels late into the night. She gave off the air of someone one didn’t want to mess with.
*She was 5′ 8″.
@Amir Khalid: Let us know if you need some care packages of American beans. There are porkless versions. You really just need some salted fatty meat of some kind or another in most recipes.
@efgoldman: A chunk of salt pork at the bottom of the bean pot and another one on the top.
@Omnes Omnibus: @Steeplejack (phone):
It may have come via my mom’s mom then. Everybody else in my extended family is German.
@efgoldman: But not 2 real half a fist sized hunks of the stuff.
@Amir Khalid: Aw, man, that reminds me of my college buddy, who was an Orthodox Jew. This was Tennessee in the early ’80s, so all the veggies were seasoned with pork.
That poor girl lived on grilled cheese and salad.
@Amir Khalid: My mom doesn’t eat pork. Anything that calls for bacon, she substitutes beef bacon. Fatty and smoky, just what you need.
Sometimes she uses turkey bacon, but it’s not as good.
Mike in NC
@Steeplejack (phone): A favorite of the Prince of Wales, I recall.
@gbear: Never heard of that, but it sounds good!
@Omnes Omnibus: I had an intimidating great-grandma too. She dressed like QE2 and had a similarly imperious manner. Everyone was scared shitless of her. She died when I was 18 and she was in her 90s.
This recipe also reminds me I have a cast iron Dutch oven with the Iron Maiden lid; it’s lined with these little nubs that allow the condensation to distribute evenly, instead of pooling around the edges.
I’ll have to get it out and clean and season it. I picked it up at the Goodwill, and I don’t think it’s ever been used. It has a light rime of rust, but no crud on it.
I’m making a Chorizo-spiced pulled pork that gets braised in a slow oven, so it’s the perfect vessel.
@Betty Cracker: This was a woman whose husband died young of cancer leaving her with four kids under ten (two kids had died as infants). A few years later, her house burned down (priceless heirlooms including Revolutionary and Civil War thingies went up in flames). She just kept on keeping on. She almost made it to 90. I think she could have out-toughed almost anyone.
@efgoldman: “The Queen bean”.
Mention of butter beans above is reminding me that I like butter beans and that there should be some cool, semi-edgy (not bland) recipes out there. Will investigate. Would love to know what Ming Tsai (“Simply Ming”) would do.
Completely OT observations: The Mad Men marathon is addictive. The show is truly amazing. Also too, Jessica Paré is gorgeous.
@Steeplejack (phone): Aren’t butter beans just mature lima beans? Eeeewww.
Christ almighty, I remember this tool from back when I was at USAFA – he was two years ahead of me, and truly a world class dumb shit.
I knew Heather Wilson, too.
That place turned out some world class morons those years – too many of them now have stars on their shoulders.
@hamletta: What do you have against lima beans?
@Botsplainer: You went to the AFA? That explains a lot.
Okay, this is a recipe I came up with myself. Pineapple thai stir-fry with spicy Bangkok peanut sauce.
Take a small can of pineapple chunks and slice each chunk in half. Dump the pineapple chunks + pineapple juice in a saucepan. Drain a small can of water chestnuts and dump those in. Add 6 to 8 oz. of chicken — I use the pre-cooked chicken chunks, but you can take a regular chicken and slice it up and fry the chicken before adding it. Take half an onion and slice it into layers, then dice it into smaller chunks.
Using some sesame oil, fry all of the above for about 6-7 minutes on high heat, until the onions start to yellow.
Now add 3 tablespoons of teriyaki glaze (the glaze is much sweeter and thicker than regular teriyaki sauce) or, if you have only teriyaki sauce, 3 tablespoons of the sauce + 2 teaspoons of brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon flour. Add about 1 teaspoon of regular soy sauce.
Now cook until the pineapple juice + teriyaki + soy sauce reduces to a thicker consistency. Should take about 7 – 9 minutes at high heat.
Set the saucepan aside and now cook some rice noodles. I use about 1/3 package of standard thin rice noodles. Cook until translucent, then drain and dump them into the saucepan.
Now add 3 tablespoons stir fry sauce (either the store-bought bottled version, or you can make it yourself from the recipe below) and another teaspoon of soy sauce. Stir fry the noodles until well mixed with the rest of the ingredients — takes 3 to 4 minutes.
Finally, serve individual portions drizzled with spicy Bangkok peanut sauce. You can use the bottled kind, or make your own.
(Recipe for spicy Bangkok peanut sauce: 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter,
1/2 cup coconut milk, 3 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon hot sauce or sweet Thai chili paste (you may want to reduce this amount to taste), 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 3 cloves garlic, minced. Add together in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. You may need to add water to get the right consistency.)
(Recipe for stir-fry sauce if you don’t want to use the bottled version:
1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 1⁄4 cups water, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil,
1 tablespoon brown sugar, 4 teaspoons cider vinegar. Mix the liquids and garlic together in a bowl, then add 3 tablespoons cornstarch by whisking it in gradually. )
@TaMara (BHF): Another solution: smoked turkey legs. I’m not certain how available those are in Malaysia mind you, but the real point is to impart a smoky flavour & aroma into the beans. And no liquid smoke won’t cut it.
@Omnes Omnibus: Also OT: I’m playing hard disk musical chairs. I got a new hard disk for my primary desktop and one disk in it will be going to my secondary desktop/web server/ipcam server/virtual machine host. Is 5TB enough? I’m not sure.
@BillinGlendaleCA: No clue… Good luck.
Butter beans, lima beans, I like ’em both.
Yeah, it’s enough.
@Steeplejack (tablet): I’ve already copied 1TB from the old drive to the new, got about 395gb left.
Yes, quite often.
Nope, never occurred. There were certainly some dishes at those types of things for which one sorely wishes the cook would permanently forget the recipe.
Mentioned before, but had one grandmother who made, bar none, the galaxy’s best garlic dill pickles. She swore many times that the recipe would go the the grave with her.
And true to her vow, it did.
oh giga this and bot that. it’s all crazy talk.
@Amir Khalid: Apparently pork had the place in American colonial cookery (like the New England bean recipes) that chicken does today — it was the essential meat/flavoring, something even not-wealthy people could afford. (Pigs were tough, they could survive being penned up in rough conditions or foraging for themselves, turning acorns, corn cobs & kitchen scraps into protein.) It’s still omnipresent in (American) Southern cooking; there’s a panel in Alison Bechdel’s cartoon strip where a vegetarian character at a family reunion tells her auntie, “It all looks wonderful, but the only thing I can eat are these delicious biscuits,” and the auntie beams “It’s the lard makes them so fluffy!”
@Little Boots: Giga, Gaga…
seriously, me and billin alone at last? again?
fine, cause now I’m in a mood, to annoy omnes:
this place is really falling asleep?
@Little Boots: Probably, it’s 11:30 on the West Coast.
OT: TCM had on Orson Welles’ Macbeth, now they are showing Kurasawa’s Throne of Blood. Have never seen either movie straight through. God, Macbeth was good. Moody and atmospheric; I loved the setting with prehistoric stone circles. The young Welles sure had a presence that his older self seemed a mockery of — his height, girth, facial features.
The baked bean recipes all look so good, unfortunately my mother never made baked beans so I never knew them as a kid. By the time I might have experimented with them as an adult, I was developing a sensitivity to bean protein.
I hope you stick with Throne of Blood. Fantastic movie. I’ve got it on now. One word about the ending: arrows.
@Steeplejack: Yes, I am staying with Throne of Blood. I slept for a few hours earlier in the evening and now I’m awake. I might not think to watch the movie at another time so since TCM has it on now, I’ll take the opportunity.
Well, you (semi-)inspired me to do a software update on my Nook. I hadn’t used it in a while, and yesterday I saw that its clock was about five minutes off. Hooked up to wi-fi, expecting a correction, and got nothing. And there’s no way to manually set the time. Pissed me off. (Yes, I’m a chronoholic.) That was eating at me, and that—combined with your hard disk adventure—got me looking to see what is the current software release, and I saw that I was way out of date. (Had software version 1.1.5 on the Nook; current version is 1.2.1—itself a couple of years old.)
The Nook is supposed to update itself during “sleep time” while connected to wi-fi, but mine hadn’t done it in two years, so I followed the instructions I found on line to do a manual update, which meant hooking up the Nook to the computer (first time ever, I think), downloading the update file to the computer and then copying it to the Nook. Let Nook go to sleep again and it would update itself with the file, which it appears to have done while I was writing this. So, yay, I’m up to date with some old software on the second-place product in the e-reader market. But I am experiencing a slight feeling of accomplishment. And the time on the Nook is spot on now. So there’s that.
ETA: I actually like my Nook (it’s the Simple Touch with Glow Light), and I can’t tell much difference between it and the equivalent Kindle that my brother has. But the Nook is the weaker player in the field, so that’s always in the back of my mind..
I’ve seen it several times, but not recently, and what is hitting me is how visually clean and beautiful it is. There’s nothing like good black-and-white cinematography!
Also, I will put in a plug for Yojimbo, up next at 4:00 a.m. EDT. Another Kurosawa film starring Toshiro Mifune, and it’s the basis for A Fistful of Dollars.
@Steeplejack: Congratulations on updating your Nook, I’ve just got the new hard disk in an USB enclosure and copying the files from one of the disks in the computer to it. Only 194gb left!
I remember my first gigabyte drive back in the 90’s, I thought it was so damn big. Then again when I got my first hard disk(10mb), I thought it was huge. My girlfriend at the time, while expressing a desire for a hard disk as opposed to a floppy was not impressed.
@Steeplejack: Every time you write Kurosawa, i think of this: One Week.
I make baked beans for potlucks, so I leave out the meat for vegetarians. I start with the Joy of Cooking recipe and add curry powder.
Thank you, sir. I know we share that satisfaction in technically complicated but essentially minor tasks being completed. That’s what keeps the world turning ’round!
I had an Altos ACS-8000 computer running CP/M right before the IBM PC hit in ’81, and with the (incredibly expensive) 10MB hard drive my company bought for it I thought I was king of the world (and pretty much was). In fact, at one point we switched over to MP/M (multi-user operating system), and I was able to have two coworkers access the hard drive and share files from their computers via serial cable. Good times.
For some reason that makes me think of this: “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”
Oh, shit, the trees are walking toward the castle!
ETA: And did I mention arrows?
@Steeplejack: My first computer was the original IBM PC, I got it my 2nd quarter of grad school.
I guess it’s OK to drop acid, it’s the weekend.
Hey, if you haven’t seen Throne of Blood, highly recommended.
LOL, I had forgotten that the Yojimbo opening music is almost like James Bond/Ocean’s Eleven type stuff. Weird. But funny. At least no Frank Sinatra lyrics.
(Mentally composing Frank Sinatra Yojimbo lyrics.)
And Yojimbo is über-wide-screen. Even on TCM HD channel it’s letterboxed (2.35:1). And Seven Samurai the other night was 4:3. It just ain’t right.
Still the oddest clue I ever picked from the hat during a game of Charades:
Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.
Tsk, tsk. The definitive version of Sugar, Sugar is by Wilson Pickett. But you can’t go wrong with this Prefab Four original.
@mclaren: That sounds really good.
@Steeplejack: It’s just plain wrong.
I know, right? Seven Samurai just becomes wide-screen in my mind. Go figure.
@Omnes Omnibus: They are gross and mealy. My parents didn’t agree on much, but they both hated lima beans, and one didn’t have to eat them.
@mclaren: I love to cook, and I love reading recipes.
I’ve been cooking so long that I can read a recipe and know whether it’s worth making.
You are such a horrible person that I know to scroll past whatever the fuck you’re babbling about.
@Steeplejack: Yes, I stayed up for Yojimbo; it’s another of those movies that I might not seek out on my own but given the chance to see it, I’ll watch it.
I agree with how good the black and white cinematography was in Throne of Blood. I’m glad these three movies weren’t colorized because the black and white is essential to their impact. Makes me wish some movies would be planned for black and white today. Another thing that I notice is the music scoring. It’s important to the mood of a movie. Kurosawa used some good music.
@PurpleGirl: Dear Lord, did you see Orson Welles’ movies?
He used all of Ansel Adams’s gradations of gray.
I love The Lady From Shanghai more than anyone should.
@hamletta: I checked the on-line TV schedule too late to see the Welles’ Othello, but I did watch Macbeth. Then the two Kurosawa films. Now I’m off TV for a while to do some house chores and have breakfast. (Having been off self-care habits for more months than I like to think about, I’m now trying hard to get back to doing things.)
@muddy: Lol, I think of that Ren and Stimpy bit every time I eat canned baked beans.