09 February 2013

Spillin' The Family Beans

Dear Lissy,

Our family has lived in northern New England for generations.  Like most old time New England families, beans were and are a staple of our diet. This recipe originated with my Dad's grandmother, Nana Woodard.  My mom changed the recipe to reflect her family's traditions by using yellow eye beans in place of red kidney beans. I've replaced the hunk of salt pork originally called for with thick bacon, and changed the sweeteners to match Grammy Bea's Boston-style recipe. (For New Hampshire style beans, replace the molasses and brown sugar with 1-1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger.)  I also slow bake my beans like Grammy Bea instead of pressure cooking them like my grammy and mom.
Nate's bowl o' beans. . . and yes, the cook earned a kiss tonight!  

Family Beans
Serves 8 as a side dish, 4 as a main course

 1# Yellow Eye, Navy, or Great Northern Beans
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 pound bacon, cut up
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

  1. Cover beans with water in a large pot and add baking soda.  Bring to a rolling boil, and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until the skins split when you pull out a spoonful and blow on them.  Cover and let stand 1 hour on very low heat, or place in a cool place and soak overnight.  
  2. Drain and rinse the beans.  Cover with fresh water and  bring to a boil.  Simmer covered for 90 minutes until beans are tender.  Drain, reserving liquor.
  3. Place the drained beans into a bean pot or slow-cooker insert along with the bacon and onion.  Mix 1 cup of the reserved liquor with the molasses, brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire.  Pour over beans.  Cover tightly and bake at 275 F or high in slow cooker for 6-7 hours.  Stir and replenish liquid with reserved bean liquor as needed.  Test bean for doneness.  Bean should have creamy, not chalky texture.  ( If desired, beans can be baked at 225 or low in slow cooker for 12 hours.  Omit the second simmer in step 2, and add 3 cups liquor to the beanpot.)
  4. Serve with cornbread and apple cider for an authentic New England dinner, or with fried eggs and red flannel hash for breakfast.  Beans reheat well.

Love you lots, little bean,

Linked up at Homestead Barn Hop #98

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh, I love beans! I know, weird but I do and they are so beneficial for your health!

    This is the first time to your blog and I'd love for you to share this post at Healthy 2day Wednesdays! (and healthy posts you have every week!) Blessings!