Beans! Beans! The musical fruit! The more you eat, the more you…
Nevermind. Let me start over.
Clears throat, musters up some maturity.
I had every intention of whipping up something romantic and indulgent – probably warm and chocolately with a pillow of softly whipped cream – to share with you. Then I got a cold, and have stayed firmly planted on the sofa, under a mountain of kleenex and a snoring dog for two days. This is why, two days before Valentine’s day, I am offering you what could contend for the least romantic dish ever, given the potential for… erm… musical… repercussions. Not appropriate for first dates.
That being said, Boston baked beans are one of my most favourite meals in the world. Made with a piece of rich salt pork, lots of molasses, tomatoes and mustard, the beans are slowly cooked to perfection over the course of an entire afternoon. They should absolutely be served with thick slices of oatmeal brown bread to mop up the sweet, smokey sauce. Delicious. But unless you are very familiar and comfortable with your dining companions, you should probably make solo evening plans or at least sit at opposite ends of a long sofa and practice feigned deafness when appropriate.
Right… so to make up for the least romantic Valentine’s-eve-eve post ever, I thought I’d share a shot of my two adorable Valentines. Awwwww…
If I am less of a glassy-eyed sneeze factory tomorrow, I promise something chocolatey and sinful and dramatically more appropriate for the occasion at hand.
Boston Baked Beans
Don’t forget that dried beans require soaking – if you’re a keener, you can soak them overnight. If you’re a more impulsive bean cooker, you can simply boil them for 2 minutes and then let them soak for an hour before cooking as per your recipe. Either way, discard the soaking water.
1 lb dried white beans or navy beans, picked over, soaked, and drained
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
4 ounces pork, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (you can use a pork chop, salt pork, or more bacon)
1/2 cup molasses
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp prepared mustard (I used sweet brown mustard)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1. Bring the soaked beans to a boil in a large pot filled with 8 cups of water. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are softened but fully intact, 45-60 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add pork, 3 cups water, salt, pepper, mustard and molasses. Bring to a boil.
3. Transfer beans to oven and cook, covered, 4-5 hours, until beans are completely soft and liquid is thickened.