Cooking with intention, part 1

My dinner with intention for this week: Comfort food, but outside my comfort zone. Fried chicken, baked beans & peas, with home made bread. We don’t usually have fried chicken, because I buy it in the frozen section of the grocery store (yuck). This time I tried Shake n bake instead, with 49 cents/lb. leg quarters. Huge improvement.

The bread is June’s recipe for white whole wheat sandwich bread. It really does take all day, but is well worth it. I added two tsp each of whole wheat gluten and potato starch to the 2nd addition of flour, which didn’t seem to hurt anything.

The beans – ah, the beans. We love Bush’s baked beans, eat them several times a week. But I found a recipe for perfect baked beans in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. I’ve never cooked baked beans from scratch, and revised the recipe a bit anyway because my grocery trip didn’t yield any bacon. I also seriously underestimated the cooking time – these suckers took as long as the bread. But they are dee-lish, and may cause Bush’s some competition in my house.

4-6 oz salt pork, rind removed, cut into cubes
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 c regular molasses
1-1/2 T yellow mustard
1 lb white beans, washed & picked over (but NOT soaked)
9 c water

Heat oven to 300F. Brown the salt pork in a large pot over medium-high heat, until it’s browned. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent. Pour in molasses, yellow mustard, beans and water. Bring to a boil. If your large pot is ovenproof, just cover and toss into the oven for 2 hrs. If not, swear alot; then pour everything into a 4-qt casserole dish, because if you use a 3.5 qt casserole, you will make a burned mess in the oven.

After two hours, take off the lid and give it a stir. Then put it back in the oven, lidless, so the liquid is reduced. Oh, about four or five hours. Don’t rush it. If you’ve got bread that must be baked at 350F, and you’ve already gotten so hungry that you’ve sent out for pizza, and the beans will be eaten tomorrow night, just take it out and finish cooking the next day, with the chicken.

The last step (which I forgot, and they were still completely edible): Stir in 1 T cider vinegar and 1 T molasses when you take it out of the oven. Let stand a few minutes, then serve.


  1. Denise
    October 31, 2006 07:21

    We love Bush’s here as well, all the flavors. My grandmother used to make baked beans from scratch, especially for family picnics. She always started out making them the night before by putting the beans to soak. Strange to see a recipe that doesn’t call for that.

  2. Elizabeth
    October 31, 2006 07:54

    I was just thinking that I wanted a recipe for baked beans next – Thanks!

  3. Mom
    October 31, 2006 10:42

    We had Bush’s last night! Sort of a picnic – cooked outside on the grill.
    I think they take so long because you added the molasses before cooking (or soaking) the beans. It coats the beans and makes them stubborn to soften up.

  4. Uncle Pete
    October 31, 2006 16:48

    Those baked beans sound (taste? well, I can’t taste them) delicious. Ask your mom for Taid’s baked beans recipe. Come to think of it, hey, Betty, send me Dad’s baked beans recipe! With the weather getting colder, baked beans sound good (and they make the house smell great).

  5. Carolyn
    November 2, 2006 14:42

    hmmm. . .I love homemade baked beans. Maybe I will make them on Election day (aren’t beans a tradition then?)

  6. Charleen
    November 3, 2006 16:59

    I love homemade baked beans, so don’t ask me why I never make them in the winter. I’ll have to try your recipe.