Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baked beans

I cooked like fiend today, albeit in a fairly short amount of time for prep. I tried a Tyler Florence recipe for pernil, which, as far as I know, is Puerto Rican inspired. It’s a good recipe, although the “paste” he asks you to smear all over a pork shoulder roast turner out to be too runny, due to the wateriness of the considerable quantity of cilantro that went into it.

My remedy was to put the sauce and the roast into a freezer bag and marinate it for several hours. You can find the pernil recipe at

The other two dishes today were creamed spinach (see my post of 12/26/08) which was varied by the use of less spinach and the addition of a head of rainbow chard. It’s a great combination.
Baked beans is the item of the day. I wouldn’t be posting this except for the fact that I had to assert myself with the online recipe I found. It sounded great, but as I started working on it I found some adjustments were needed.

Whoever I poached this recipe from used something he/she called “magic dust,” a mix of dried herbs and spices. Not wanting to go to all the trouble of making a batch of it, I just added various amounts of the specified ingredients. Hence, there is quite a lengthy list of stuff. Use whatever you have on hand. I was out of garlic powder for example and substituted onion powder.

After the beans got tender (about 2 1/2 hours) and mixed with everything else I put it in the oven. Not for the designated hour and a half, but for 3 more hours

The biggest problem for me was the quantity of brown sugar called for: 1 full cup. We prefer our beans less sweet, but the citrus and vinegar gave it a rather sour tartness. In the end I put in ½ cup brown sugar which did the trick.

So there you have it. In the end it’s well worth trying when you have a hankering for some of the musical fruit.

Baked beans
1 pound dried great northern beans
2 smoked pork hocks
4 cups chicken or beef stock
½ of a medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
¼ cup dark molasses
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover with salted water by 2 to 3 inches. Soak the beans overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Return the beans to the saucepan and cover with fresh water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the beans are tender but not bursting open.

While the beans are cooking: place the hocks in a saucepan and cover with chicken or beef stock. Simmer covered for a long time. Drain and cool the hocks, saving the liquid, and then remove and reserve whatever small amount of meat you can find on them.

Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil for 3-4 minutes, just to soften, not to color, adding the garlic after 2 minutes. Place them in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir together. When the beans are ready, drain them and allow them to cool. Add the beans to the bowl and stir it all together.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the bean mixture in a large baking dish, add the hock broth, and bake for hours, until the liquid thickens. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

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