From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
I was thinking of backyard cookouts when trying to pick a topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. Running through favorite side dishes, baked beans jumped to the top of the list. It is one of those dishes I equate with summer. I usually only put a pot of baked beans together for large cookouts or picnics and I love them. I like that you can mix up a variety of beans and sauces to get entirely different flavors: sweet or savory, spicy or full of smoky goodness. Difficult to choose a favorite.
Here’s a quick recipe 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 could be flourishing.
What’s on your plate this weekend? Do you have any secret family recipes for baked beans? Go ahead, share in the comments, your secret’s safe with us.
The featured recipe tonight is savory, sweet. smoky and oven baked. Who knew molasses could be so good?
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.
That’s it for this week. If you missed it, this week’s menu was Grilled Rosemary Steak with Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes. Have a great weekend! – TaMara