Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oven Baked Beans

Gayle faithfully hosts a Friday Recipe Swap over on her blog each week, and here is my recipe this week. My editing to the recipe will follow in italics.

Oven Baked Beans

2 cups dried navy beans
8 cups cold water
1 tsp. salt, divided
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 lb. salt pork, cut up
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

Rinse beans (and sort to pick out any rocks). Place in Dutch Oven with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour (or omit boiling, and soak beans overnight).

Add 1/2 tsp. salt to beans and soaking water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid.

Combine brown sugar, mustard, molasses, pepper and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in 2 cups reserved liquid. Ad to beans with salt pork, onion, celery and green pepper.

Put in 2 1/2 qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 300°F for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally or until beans are as thick as desired. Add more of the reserved liquid if needed.

Yield: 8 - 10 servings.

First off, I didn't have navy beans, but I DO have several lbs. of pinto beans. Dried beans is dried beans, right? :P I started soaking them yesterday morning. Note, my memories of my older sisters making this at home recall the beans ALWAYS being "bullet beans" - meaning, not soft. So I wanted to make sure they were going to get soft. I didn't bring them to a rolling boil as soon as possible, but instead kinda turned it on Med. and let it come to a boil. I let it boil a few minutes, then turned the burner off. I let the pot sit on the heat for the 1 hour, though it did stop boiling after a bit and cooled down.

After an hour, I fired the heat back up, and brought it to a boil (with the added 1/2 tsp. salt). Then I let it simmer. While it was cooking I got distracted cleaning in the bathroom and it cooked for more like 1 1/2 hours. Then I did take it off the heat and let them sit.

Instead of salt pork, I used a big handful of our home-cured country ham. And I had part of a garlic clove waiting to be used, so I added that in. My celery was almost the consistency of cooked spaghetti, so it was in need of a good home. After I had all the "other" ingredients ready to go, I drained the beans. I actually mixed everything (sugar, molasses, ham and veg.) together and then added it to the beans with the 2 cups of water.

I put it in the oven about 4 o'clock, figuring that 2 1/2 hrs. would make it done at 6:30, a good time for supper. I stirred it about every 30 - 45 minutes. The beans were pretty much "done" (softness wise) when I put them in the oven, so I'm not sure if that played a part in the juice not thickening up like it seemed it should. Anyway, about 5:15 I turned the oven up to 350° (they were just still as juicy as when I'd put them in). At 5:30 I took the lid off. We called Daniel's parents to invite them over to join us, and instead they already had company coming, but THEY invited US to bring our beans and join them! So at almost 6 (2 hours of baking), the beans were still pretty juicy, but they were soft and tasted very good.

I scooped out a little of the juice into a bowl, stirred in 2 heaping spoonfuls (like an eating spoon) of cornstarch and stirred that back into the beans. It thickened it up perfectly! Still kinda syrupy, but not so soupy that you needed a bowl to eat them.

They were very good. A teeny bit on the sweet side, so I think I might just cut the sugar/molasses back a little next time. Daniel agreed with me that these beans would make a good "low meat" meal served with cornbread :)


Sally said... [Reply to comment]

It sounds like a really good recipe! I'm glad you didn't have "bullet beans" like we had at home. How they got that way and remained that despite hours of cooking--putting the salt in before they are cooked soft! If you put salt in before they are soft, they will never, ever get soft.

Halfmoon Girl said... [Reply to comment]

I have a similar recipe, if not the exact one- very yummy. I would agree with cutting back on the sweetness.

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

Sally - Actually, I did put the 1/2 tsp. of salt in when it called for it, and they turned out fine. Who knows??

Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

Oooooooh.... I LOVE baked beans!!

Carol said... [Reply to comment]

These sound really good. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

You had to know I was going to ask you what you ate the other night that cost $1.50 for a meal plus leftovers!! Was it this?

Maria D. said... [Reply to comment]

Mmmm... that sounds really good! I will definitely have to try this when I have some extra pork lying around.