Now, back to important stuff.
This week is baked beans.
As always, start the day before soaking the beans. White navy beans this time around, but truthfully, pinto or black or kidney or anything will do just fine. But the pork and beans that I grew up with (you know, the kind that had a nasty hunk of pork fat in the bottom of the can) requires the use of navy beans for the proper aesthetic).
First things first. Start with one of the nastier bits of a dead pig. Today's choice bit of semi-offal can be had at Winco Foods (or whatever local grocery chain around you that bothers to recognize that there is a working class/ethnic class in this country. You will recognize this chain by the lack of an olive bar, artisan cheese, and Lexus(es) in the parking lot.
This pork jowl bacon is cheap. $4.00 gets you a couple of pounds. It is always un-sliced. It looks funny.
|Sliced up pork jowl bacon...looks different, tastes great.|
Fry this up in a dutch oven. An aside to this pretty basic concept: In my humble opinion, when using a dutch oven, one should never, ever turn the heat on the range higher than whatever the approx. 40% mark is. Mine top end is medium low.
|Fry it up|
Fry the bacon up and take the meat aside for garnish. Now you have the real basis of good baked beans..rendered pig fat. Chop up an onion and toss it in to cook until translucent.
|An excellent start to any meal worth eating|
Now....the sauce: An aside here, pork and beans is not a gourmet dish, it is a working class dish and what makes it good is working class set of ingredients and those are not purchased at a boutique grocery store. Winco is a good first choice, but a good backup is your local liquidator store. Here in Wash/Ore/Commie land, the choice is Grocery Outlet (God Bless 'em).
The sauce is pretty simple:
- 3/4 cup of cheap barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup of cheap wet mustard
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- a good dollop of Worcester sauce (give or take 2 tablespoons)
- a good dollop of molasses (approx 1/4 cup)
- a teaspoon of liquid smoke
- a tablespoon of tomato/chicken bouillon
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Mix all of this stuff in the the rest of the stuff already in the dutch oven, drain the soaked beans and dump them in, stir the hell out of it along with about a cup of water. If you want to worry about presentation, put the bacon on the top in an attractive pattern, if not, just stir it in like I do.