Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Week 37 - BAKED BEANS

Saskatchewan Menu of the Week -- 25 December 2005

Brunch -- Pancakes with fruit compote.
Dinner -- Pear and Butternut Soup. Baked ham. Baked beans. Baked potatoes. Coleslaw. Cherry Tarte.

My husband installed a wood-burning stove in our front room. It’s a cute little black model made by a Norwegian company called Jotul. We love it. We had some friends over for dinner and without any prompting from us, they pulled their chairs around the fire. The door is glass so we can see the flame, and there is a burner on top for boiling tea water or simmering a pot of beans. Yes, we are eating beans this week. First, I soaked the beans overnight with some yogurt in the water (that’s supposed to diffuse the bean effect). Then I simmered the beans on the wood stove with water, a ham hock and a couple of bay leaves. Once softened, I baked the beans in the oven with some molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste and worcester sauce. We had beans for supper tonight, and tomorrow we’ll warm the leftovers on the wood stove. Maybe we’ll add some wieners. It’s just like camping, only better...

BAKED BEANS
I bought a HUGE bag of pinto beans at a flea market which were grown on a farm near Radisson.

Soak 2 cups of beans and 2 tbsp. plain yogurt in water overnight. Drain the water. Put the beans in a stock pot, add two ham hocks, 2 bay leaves, salt and a few peppercorns. Cover with fresh water and simmer until the beans are soft.

Divide the beans and their liquid between two oven-proof casseroles with lids. Remove the meat from the ham hocks and divide evenly between the two pots. Into each, stir in a few chopped tomatoes, a couple spoonfuls of tomato paste, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup of molasses. Bake, covered, for two hours or more at 300 degrees. Add water if the beans soak up their liquid. Before serving, remove the lids and bake until the top of the beans is nice and brown.

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