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Enough for the Whole Lord’s Congregation September 15, 2012

Posted by J. in Domesticity, Genius.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Knights of Columbus are having a chicken barbecue today down at St. Joseph’s and Jeanne and I are the official baked bean makers. We make some damned fine beans. I say, if you want good New England baked beans, ask the French kids to make them. We KNOW from beans.

LOOK AT THESE. A thing of beauty.

You say you love good homemade baked beans but think they’re too much work? Pshaw. Here’s my recipe. A dull chimp could make these.

I usually make mine in two pound batches because I have a big crock pot and I tend to make them for a crowd. Plus, they keep a long time in the fridge and they freeze well. The recipe can be halved or doubled or whatever. It’s very flexible.

Before you go to bed the night before, put two pounds of navy beans into a big pan and cover them with water. They will expand, so use lots. In the morning, dump out the old water and put in fresh and set them to boil. Boil them for…oh, about half an hour to an hour. It depends on the bean. The fresher they are, the less time they need. You’ll know they’re ready when you scoop a few out and blow on them and the skins split and curl.

Here’s what you’ll need. For a big-ass two-pound batch, you need:

2 pounds of navy beans, 2 large onions, a package of salt pork (~12 oz.), 16 oz. of molasses, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper.

While they’re boiling away, into your big crock pot you put in your chopped up onions, your cubed up salt pork, a couple of big squirts of ketchup, a couple of big squirts of yellow mustard (or a couple of heaping tablespoons of coarse fancy mustard or a couple teaspoons of dry mustard–it’s all good here) and salt and pepper to taste. It’s all about eyeballing the amounts. The ketchup and mustard have a tang that cuts the sweetness a bit, the salt pork and onion add a savory, smoky flavor, the bit of salt (not too much) accentuates the molasses and the pepper gives it some bite.

All of this is variable! Bean cooking is not a science–it’s an art! If you like a tangier bean, add some tang: vinegar or lemon juice. If you like a sweeter bean, add a bit of brown sugar. If you like more savory, add onions or garlic. Some prefer a bit more of a tomato base and add condensed tomato soup or tomato paste. Polish style beans use different kinds of beans like kidney and white beans and include ground beef.

When the beans are cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop them into the crock pot. Add 16 oz. of molasses and then add some of the bean water to just cover the beans. Not too much. Stir all that shit up.

“Cover me, Chief. We’re going in.” All mixed up and ready to go in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high for four hours or low for 6. The beans are done when they are to your desired softness level, depending on if you like a firm bean or a mushy one. I like mine on the soft side.

They pair with so many things. Hot dogs, of course. Ham–oh, God, ham. Smoked ham from the Fox Country Smokehouse. *homer drool*  Sorry, what was I saying? Oh, they go good with any grilled meat. You can eat them like the old Frenchmen do and spread them cold on some buttered bread. They are great with eggs and any and all breakfast meats and you’ll usually find baked beans as a side option on most breakfast menus in restaurants up here.

That’s it. It’s literally a mix this stuff up and forget it all day kind of thing. Chop a couple of things and dump ’em in a crock pot. Easy peasy.

You wish you had a scratch and sniff monitor, don’t you?

The last double batch is boiling away on the stove as I post this, and six pounds will be delivered to church this afternoon. Enough for the whole Lord’s congregation!



1. Kim - September 15, 2012

Thanks for the recipe — as a kid I used to think it was fun to help my grandmother sort through the beans taking out the bad ones and then I knew the beans had to soak all night but that was about it for my paying attention to what she was doing in the kitchen – I even have my grandmothers old bean crockpot proudly displayed on a shelf in my kitchen – sadly, I never got her recipe and I miss having beans with salt pork on the weekends (even cold on toast) – thanks again for sharing your recipe – this French girl has been missing homemade baked beans 🙂 Kim

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