Friday, July 3, 2009

Grandma Mildred's Baked Bean

"Golden Spike Ceremony" -First Transcontinental Railroad-1869


I was just lamenting the other day that I hadn't grown up in an ethnic household. Sure, my family is German and I do know that my Great-great grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1856. He was Sixteen years old and when he landed here he had exactly 40 cents in his pocket. He worked as a farm hand, basically for room and board and from what I gather the "board" portion of his pay was pretty slim. I have read accounts of him eating more than a fair amount of squirrel. Long story short John Schoen enlists in the Union Army and served as a guard for U.S. Grant. After the war he was granted citizenship and he started a construction company that did the grading for theUnion Pacific Railroad. This was part of the construction for the Inter-continental Railroad and he was actually in Utah when the golden spike was driven. He made enough money to move to Kansas, purchase a 137 acre farm, get married and eventually have 9 sons.
Okay, enough of the family history-
Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to have been invited to a Pig Roast my blog friend Heather put together this event for her husband Scott's birthday. My contribution to the event was a batch of Baked Beans. The recipe I used was from my fraternal grandmother and it is one of the few culinary memories from my childhood that I want to see carried forward. The recipe is simple (kinda white trash actually), but these beans are awesome!
Chicken Kabobs with Aleppo Pepper & Yogurt Marinade and my Grandmother's Baked Beans

Grandma Mildred's Baked Beans
Ingredients:
2 lbs. Pinto beans (soak overnight)
4 oz. Bacon
1 Onion
6 Cloves Garlic
1 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup Ballpark Mustard
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Molasses
1/2 cup strong black Coffee
Preparation:
Cook (simmer) the beans in ample water for an hour then let rest for 30 minutes. Brown the bacon, add the onion and garlic. Add the beans and the wet ingredients. The mixture should have enough moisture that the beans are swimming in liquid (add more of any of the wet ingredients as you adjust to taste). A Dutch oven is perfect for cooking these at 325 degrees. The beans will be done in 3-4 hours-cook covered (check hourly and stir).
What makes my grandmother's recipe a little more unique is that she used to cook the beans until they were almost dry (see the photo). My recipe for Heather kept this a little more traditional and a bit more "saucey".
At home I cook the beans until the liquid is just barely gone. These beans are absolute flavor bombs-let me know what you think.

2 comments:

Foodycat said...

With coffee? That is really interesting. Last time I made baked beans I used a can of stout - which I think would add the same sort of dark zing. I will try your way.

Norm Schoen said...

Foodycat-The coffee adds an earthy smokey character, give it a try and see what you think.