||Slow-cooked beans get better with age.
Warm up in late winter with a good book and a scrumptious New England supper – straight from the galleys of the Maine Windjammer Association’s award-winning chefs!
BAKED BEANS from the Angelique’s Debbie Seip. Serves 10 people.
What kind of beans to start with? That is the question. There are so many to choose from…my grandmother used lima or great northern beans. I use soldier beans. Someone told me that soldier beans are so named because the brown marking on each bean is supposed to be the silhouette of a soldier.
1½ cups molasses
¼ pound brown sugar
½ tsp ground mustard
2 medium onions
2 strips bacon or salt pork
1¼ pounds soldier beans
My baked beans tend to be sweet. If you prefer a more savory flavor, add more ground mustard. In addition to the above ingredients, my grandmother always added catsup as well!
I start the beans two days ahead of time on the boat, because I feel the beans are best when cooked at low heat for a long time. They get better with age.
So Sunday night I put the beans in a large stockpot to soak. You want to use plenty of water – there should be several inches of water above the beans. On Monday I parboil the beans. To check if they are done, place some on a spoon and blow on them. If the skins crack, they are ready.
In two 4-quart bean pots, peel and cut onions into quarters and divide evenly between two pots. Drain beans and add on top of onions. Mix the brown sugar, molasses and ground mustard; pour over beans. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry – do not cook completely. Place on top of beans in pot. If the beans are not covered with liquid, add water to cover. Cover the bean pots (I use foil, because the bean pots wont fit into the over on board with the lids on). I put the bean pots into the oven as soon as I pull dinner out (around 6 pm). I leave the oven on until 8 pm. Then I turn it off for the evening, but leave the bean pots in the oven overnight.
In the morning, I stir the beans and add more water if they are not covered. I place the bean pots of top of the stove after breakfast and let them come to a boil, at which point I put them on trivets to reduce the heat but still cook. During the afternoon, I stir and check to see that they aren’t getting too dry.
At home, I think it would take about 4-5 hours in a 300-degree oven or at a low temperature all day in a crock pot.
STREAMED BROWN BREAD from the Mary Day’s Mary Barnes.
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup quick oats
1 tsp, rounded salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup molasses
1 cup – optional chopped raisins
about 1 cup warm water - maybe a bit more to make a pour-able – but not runny – batter
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the molasses and warm water. Stir in the raisins. Pour batter into 2 well-greased coffee cans, 2/3 to ¾ full. Cover tightly with tin foil and place on a rack in a large kettle (an upside down metal pie plate works well) in simmering water which comes no more than 1/3 of the way up the cans. Cover kettle and steam for about 3 hours at a steady simmer. Check water level occasionally. Serve with black beans. Also good grilled with breakfast!
CRISPY COLE SLAW from the Victory Chimes’ Mary Walker.
1 head of cabbage
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
1 medium onion
1 cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 T vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp celery seeds
Chop the cabbage, peppers, and onion and cool. Heat the remaining ingredients to boiling and cool. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss. Refrigerate. Best if done ahead of time. It keeps for several days and does not go limp.
For more information about recipes from the galleys of the Maine Windjammer Association click here.