Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking:Baked beans are an excellent side dish

BY JULIAN BRUNT/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALD

Baked beans with a lot of barbecue.
Baked beans with a lot of barbecue.

We are focusing the blog topic on side dishes this week, and today we are going to take a look at baked beans.

Beans are enjoyed all over the world.

But all beans are not created equal. The Italians make a lovely dish of pasta and beans, pasta e fagioli, but in my opinion, American-style baked beans with chunks of barbecue are unequaled.

This is a long- simmered dish that requires lots of love and lots of barbecue. If you are miserly with the barbecue, your beans will suffer, or if you try to hurry the cooking process, you will likewise not be proud of your beans.

If you just have to cheat and use canned beans, the result will be good, not great, but you will also lose the toothsomeness of made-from-scratch beans. Canned beans are slightly over cooked.

Try this recipe and let me know how you liked it.

BAKED BEANS

1 pound dried beans

2 cups chicken stock

3 cups water

1 chopped red onion

1 chopped bell pepper

4-6 cloves chopped garlic

1/4 cup sorghum molasses

German style mustard to taste

2 cups chopped BBQ brisket or pulled pork

Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Soak the beans overnight in cool water, then drain and reserve. Using a heavy, oven-proof pot, sauté the onion and bell pepper in a little oil for 5 minutes, add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the beans and chicken stock, water and simmer for 1 hour. Add the rest of the ingredients, seasoning aggressively, cover with a lid and bake at 300 f for at least 2 hours. Remove, taste and continuing cooking until the beans are just the way you like them. It may take as long as 4 hours to get them right. 

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