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Friday, January 13, 2012

HOMEY

The first thing I did when I heard the forecast of snow was to put a pot of beans on to soak.  Coming into a house  redolent with the smoky goodness of beans bubbling away in the oven  after spending time outside in the sparkling crisp air is one of the simplest of country pleasures.  

Of course, as with most things that bring us pleasure, baked beans remind of us times past, when neighbors were closer, before the advent of TV.  Back when church suppers and potlucks were considered grand entertainment on a winter evening.  Still to this day, the aroma of baked beans brings me right back to my childhood, when the cousins and aunts, grandparents and neighbors would bring scalloped potatoes, baked hams, lemon meringue pies and buttery rolls and share the evening chatting and just enjoying each other's company, the young ones listening to stories from the older generations, learning their history.  Perhaps now would be the time to revive the old custom?

Baked Beans

Wash and pick over 1 lb. of navy beans.  Put into a large pot and pour boiling water over them to cover plus a few extra inches.  In the morning drain.  Replace the water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, adding more water as needed and stirring once in a while to make sure they don't stick to the pot.  Drain.  Put into a small roaster or a 13 X 9 casserole.  Add 2 C. ketchup, 1 tbsp. dry mustard,  1/2 C. maple syrup, 1/4 C. brown sugar, 1/4 lb. diced bacon and 1 large onion diced.  Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) adding water as needed, until the beans become soft and start to meld together and they develop that nice dark color (several hours).  These beans should be thicker than the ones you buy in the store. They make wonderful sandwiches made up with a layer of the beans and a slice of cheddar cheese on nice homemade bread, grilled. So there you have it, baked beans worthy of a lumber camp cookie!

As with all my recipes, it is a rough guideline.  You can use any combination of sugars (brown, molasses, maple syrup or sugar).  Sometimes if I have an apple that is beginning to look a little shriveled in the fridge, I'll peel and dice that and add it to the pot.  Some Southern recipes use cola for some of the liquids.  Add more onions and bacon if you like.  Experiment with what you like.  Usually, I don't add salt because the bacon is salty enough but you be the judge.

Speaking of bacon, the other day I got a great deal on bacon ends and pieces.  Only $2 a pound!  Be on the look out for it.  We don't eat meat very often, but baked beans, wouldn't be baked beans without it. A little added to a plain vegetable soup or fried up and sprinkled  over a potato with some cheese sauce and broccoli  makes inexpensive meals when the pantry  and checkbook are bare!

38 comments:

  1. Dear Jane,
    Oooh, I love homemade baked beans! Love your bean pot too! A few years ago I was scared to use dry beans, I guess I thought I would ruin the recipe. Besides baked beans we love a big ole' pot of soup beans and cornbread. Warms your "inards" as my hubby would say!
    Hugs))

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    1. Hello Rosebud! Dry beans are certainly the thrifty way to go. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. That dress you found the other day was just lovely and now I'm on a lookout for a porcelain pin. Your post today was so spot on. I have several friends that say "Oh I'll just grow my own food" when you ask them what they'll do if times get rough. Little do they know how much work it entails!

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  2. Yum, now I am hungry! I love baked beans and yours sound delicious! What a nice family gathering you described, that would be a wonderful tradition to revive. We still have potlucks quite often at our church, quite a treat for sure, the boys especially love it, you can see all of them eagerly lined up to fill their plates with all of the great home cooked foods and beautiful desserts. We just stocked up on some bacon, I will have to make up a batch of beans this weekend, fingers crossed that we may get a dusting of snow as well. You bean pot is wonderful, what a fun way to serve them. :)

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    1. I think I need to move to your area and join your church, April! It really sounds like what a church should be! Just what I've been looking for in a church. Potlucks are a growing boys dream!

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  3. They look delicious Jane :) I did not put beans but bones to make into a soup. It is snowing here also... there is really nothing like a nice warm meal when it is cold and windy outside :-)

    Be blessed today!

    maria

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    1. We're having a snowstorm this afternoon, Maria. Brrr!! The wind is blowing it all sideways. A good soup bone or a nice ham hock is a real treasure. Delicious soups can be made very thriftily.

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  4. º°❤ Olá, amiga!
    Essa receita é tudo de bom!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil
    °º✿
    º° ✿ ✿⊱╮

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    1. Você é "tudo de bom" meu amigo divertido brasileiro!

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  5. Hi Jane! I love baked beans, I feel the same way about them as you do. The smell brings memories of and feelings of home, love and comfort! Our minds are sure on the same track because I just had my mother-in-law pick up the ingredients when she went to the store a couple of days ago. I was planning on making them this weekend! I hope you get some cozy winter weather up your way. It has been sunny and cold here all day in the 40's. We are having some friends over tonight for a pizza party and I have been making some chocolate cupcakes for the children. I also got them some little teddy bears and have been sewing pink ribbons on the ears for the girl bears and making little bandannas for the boy bears. :) I am so looking forward to seeing the children again! Have a lovely afternoon, and I sure enjoyed today's post! Delisa :)

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    1. What fun Delisa! You certainly are the hostess with the mostest! Snowstorm here today. We are just going to have a fire and snuggle in and read. Have fun at your pizza party!

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  6. Hi Jane! Good old baked beans....I usually crave those with hot dogs (on a bun) or even hot dogs sliced and thrown in, with bacon too. Totally healthy..ha...but really ...a little bacon on a dish sure makes it good! I remember when I was real young, and our cubbards were a bit bare, my dad used to take out a can of baked beans for a snack. In those canned beans, I just realized a couple years ago, that the little pieces of something unidentifiable were actually the "pork" part! And yes, ham...that was always a staple for a gathering. (And I like to make scalloped potatoes with leftover ham thrown in). You got me thinking here! I think I will pull out my old betty crocker classic cookbook! ha. love,andrea

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    1. Yeah, Andrea, those funny little bits certainly don't look like bacon do they? My dad was a big kippers fan. Stinky! Pork and beans would have been better! Scalloped potatoes does sound good. Anything with potatoes actually. If you do make them, adding 1/2 tsp of dry mustard and 1/2 tsp. of paprika really enhances the ham.

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  7. Love baked beans, chili, and stew suppers during the winter.:-)
    Seems church suppers aren't what they use to be...I don't think many know how to cook any more! If lasagne comes in an aluminum pan, you can just about bet that it came from the frozen food section of the grocery store! Sad, isn't it?
    I have lots of fond memories of delicious home-cooked meals and lots of family sharing at long past church suppers.
    Enjoy your weekend!

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  8. Hi Anne! So true! And remember when bake sales were a way to show of your baking skills? Now they are just skimpy cupcakes made from a mix and awful looking cookies I'd be ashamed to serve to the dog, or Krispy treats. Those old German and Polish ladies sure knew how to cook and bake. Wish I could go back in time and attend one of those church suppers. Not just for the food but for the fellowship. Miss your blog!

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    1. I'm still here...are you having trouble bringing me up?
      http://evenaflower.blogspot.com

      Please let me know, so I can find out what the problem is.

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  9. Hi again jane! ha...my dad also would grab a can of sardines in mustard and eat them...they looked so good but i couldn't get past the thought of bones to try any. Thanks for the mustard and paprika tip. (mentioning paprika makes me hungry for deviled eggs! love,andrea

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    1. I couldn't get past the smell, Andrea!

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  10. I love making baked beans in my grandmother's bean pot! It's high time I baked up a batch! Yum!
    Courtney

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    1. Looks like I started something here, Courtney. Must be pretty fun to back beans in your grandmother's bean pot!

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  11. Great minds think alike, Jane! I put on a pot last night because we had snow as well! LOL I love baked beans! I have Grandma's bean pot that is an old Hull piece. It makes the very best beans!

    How much snow do you have??

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  12. Hi Matty! I just shot you an e-mail. How come my grandmother didn't leave me a bean pot? Oh that's right! She only ate Spam, cheese and raspberry ripple ice cream!

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  13. You have made so nostalgic with this post for those simpler and more communal times. When my grandma and her sisters were alive and we all congregated at someone's home for an entire day with lots of food. I wish my house was homey and had wonderful warm food smells going on.

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    1. I was missing those times too. Now days our family is spread out all over the country. It makes me a little sad that my grandchildren will no longer have the experience of a large extended family all living in one community. I think TV has also ruined it also. I remember when people started to stay home because they wanted to watch Ed Sullivan and when you went to others homes they began to leave the TV on, so you couldn't hold a conversation. I guess all progress isn't good progress. But at least we have the memories!

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  14. Fine Saturday! I love your beans blog! Maybe I'm looking today in my cookbook to see if I can make a mixture from Dutch bean recipes with your ingredients.

    My husband loves baked beans. with hamburgers and fried potatoes.

    Big hug.

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    1. Happy Saturday to you too, Jedidja! You'll have to let me know what ingredients go into Dutch baked beans. I am curious!

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  15. I still have a package of brown beans that I bought a year ago. Maybe this week is the week I finally make them. I like beans and you make them sound even better, Jane. (Plus they give me an excuse to buy bacon - a personal weakness of mine!!)

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    1. I tell you what Sandy, that aroma mixed with coffee perking is just about the best thing in the world. Wish I could bottle it up! Sorry about tempting you with the bacon!

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  16. Dear Jane,

    That does it, I'm going to have to scour the thrift store for a bean pot! We'll have to find some meatless "bacon" and try that, since certain persons in the family oppose to eating "Wilbur." :)

    Love,

    Marqueta

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  17. Seems to be the thing to pass on, Marqueta. Used to find them all the time, but I guess they are becoming scarce. Maybe the next generation won't have home baked beans. They'll go the way of tongue, sweetbreads and headcheese! Never tried them with the vegetarian alternatives. Wonder what it would taste like? Mainly wanted to use bacon so I could have the aroma. Must have tasted ok, because last night I heard some clunking around and it was Jamie heating up some beans in the middle of the night.

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  18. I love baked beans. Don't have a bean pot, so I just use either cast iron or a casserole dish.

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    1. When my family was at home, I used to make a double batch in my big cast iron Dutch oven, Shara. My word! The old kitchen used to crank out a lot of food!

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  19. That sounds very similar to the way I make baked beans--although I use the pressure cooker to tenderize them rather than the longer par-boiling.
    I liked your description of church suppers---you immediately conjured faces, names, personalities and occasions from so many years ago. Pure nostalgia for a cold winter evening.

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    1. I can my beans so I usually have some on hand, MM. Makes short work of the job. I think people hunger for memories of those old simple times, especially when life slows down in the winter.

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  20. Delicious. A trip to the market for the navy beans that seem to have all disappeared from the pantry seems in order. I'm eager to try the sandwich recommendation. I just recently read a book where a sandwich of baked beans was served and I was intrigued. Yours sounds just that much better!

    Blessings, Debbie

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    1. Well, I'm glad I could contribute to your understanding about bean sandwiches, Debbie! There my husband's favorite. I tell you one thing, after eating one, you'll be full!

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  21. Hi Jane! I was just out and about this afternoon and thought I would pop over and say hello! I hope you are having a nice monday! I am making a fried chicken dinner for my Tony tonight and just put in some baked beans in the oven. You really inspired me with this post the other day! They sure are starting to smell good. I make mine a little bit different. I don't have a bean crock and cook mine in a glass baking dish. They sure bring back happy memories. It is clouding up and I think we are going to get a little rain later. Happy monday! Delisa :)

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  22. Your comment about families getting together and sharing stories of 'back when' got me thinking. That is really something that is lacking in today's world. First, the families don't live close together, and everyone runs to the TV, computer, iPod, iPad, whatever. That really was a wonderful way to pass along family stories.

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    1. It's so sad. My own little family is scattered all around the country and the last time we were all together was over five years ago. Not like when families all lived in the same community and the cousins could play together. Back when every little town had some sort of factory for the citizens to work at, and stores owned by people so you didn't have to travel outside of it's borders to get what you needed. No one was every wealthy, but we were so much richer in other ways!

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