In honor of Labor Day (a national day off here in the United States honoring the labor movement, which benefited my family in a concrete way–no pun intended, but they were bricklayers), I wanted to present the best baked bean recipe I know of. It’s the one my friend Leslie makes from an arduous-but-worth-it recipe in an ancient issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It starts with dry beans, and further challenges a lazy summer cook by requiring the acquisition of a smoked ham hock. (Ham hocks, smoked or not, are thin on the ground here in the Northeast, where we lack the panoply of pork parts found in the Piggly Wiggly in Sewanee, Tennessee, which Ann once showed me to my amazement.)
Other ingredients that I can remember are the traditional brown sugar and/or molasses, plus a jar of hot salsa.
Leslie’s baked beans are incredible. They are sublime. They are the only baked beans worth skipping a second hot dog for.
Well, it’s already Labor Day, so there’s no time for soaking a sackful of beans overnight. But Bon Appetit comes to the rescue, with a version of Hot and Smoky Baked Beans from 1999 that requires neither the dry beans nor the elusive ham hock. As this recipe has the approval of Smitten Kitchen, I hereby link to her version, which includes the crucial tip to not use the amount of chipotles called for. La Smitten also omitted the bacon, which seems kind of wrong to me, but I get her point that the leathery consistency of bacon baked in liquid is not the highest form of bacon.
I went with the vegetarian version. 10 minutes to chop an onion, open all the cans of beans, and combine with other ingredients; one hour in the oven.
Whether you are baking beans or not, here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday and an exhilarating return to the routines of September.
Knitting for my last beach weekend of 2018 is a sunshiney lap full of Sea Breeze Cowl-Poncho from Field Guide No. 7. The Spud & Chloë Sweater yarn is so very pleasant.