Monday, August 30, 2010

Baked Bean Recipe & Vintage Bean Pots

"Old Hickory" Stoneware Lidded Casserole Dish - Old Hickory Pottery Co.

Growing up, Saturday night supper was always Baked Beans and all the fixin's that went with a proper baked bean supper. For my family that included brown bread, hot dogs, coleslaw and clam casserole, the latter one being a nod to our Maine roots. My childhood, the 60's & 70's, was a time when things were changing faster than anything experienced in previous decades. With the aroma of the oven baked beans and the grilled onions on the stove top filling the kitchen, no matter how violent the evening night news with Walter Cronkite, the baked bean supper was a comforting tradition. No need to ask what was cooking, if it was Saturday, it was beans, and a sense of stability in my little world.

My mother's beans are widely acclaimed by bean aficionados. At the monthly Church Baked Bean Suppers, hers were always the first to get eaten. Folks recognized their favorites by their respective crock pots, casserole dishes or by their bean pot, the only true way to bake beans. Mom's recipe as well as the bean pot they were baked in, were both from Grandma Benner, my father's mother and I don't think Dad ever got tired of eating those beans. For Dad it was beans for supper Saturday night, a bean sandwich for breakfast Sunday morning and leftovers on Wednesday night.

Now what we cook up here in Maine is the traditional Boston Baked Beans, quite fitting as we were part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts right up through 1820. You have to be patient when baking beans, it is the slow oven cooking that provides just the right authentic texture and taste. So today I am sharing a tried and true Baked Bean recipe for Tuesdays at the Table with Cole @ All the Small Stuff. (Click here or see the button on my sidebar.) I am also joining Suzanne at Vintage Thingie Thursdays with my collection of Bean Pots. You can visit Suzanne (here) or see the button on my sidebar. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the parties. Hope that you enjoy.

Boston Baked Beans


16 ounces (2 cups) dry navy beans
2 quarts cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
4 ounces salt pork
1 medium onion, chopped (or my mom would cut the onion in half and placed it at the bottom of the pot)

Rinse beans; add to water in saucepan. Bring to boiling and simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover; let stand 1 hour. (Or add beans to cold water; soak overnight.) Add salt to beans and water; cover and simmer till beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid. Measure 2 cups liquid, adding water if needed; mix with molasses, brown sugar, and mustard. Cut salt pork in half; score one half. Grind or thinly slice remainder. In 2-quart bean pot or casserole (I prefer the bean pot), combine beans, onion and ground salt pork. Pour molasses mixture over. Top with scored pork. Cover; bake in 300 oven for 5 to 7 hours. Add more liquid if needed, save your water from the boiling stage to use. Makes 8 servings.

Of course no Baked Bean Supper would be complete without Boston Brown Bread. Yum Yum.

Boston Brown Bread

This is best made the night before.

Sift together 1 cup sifted rye flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon soda, and 1 teaspoon salt; stir in 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Add 2 cups buttermilk, 1 cup raisins, and 3/4 cup dark molasses; beat well. Divide batter among 4 greased and floured 16-ounce fruit or vegetable cans (labels removed). Cover tightly with foil. Place on rack in deep kettle; add boiling water to depth of 1 inch (cans should not be resting in water). Cover; steam 3 hours, adding more boiling water if needed. Bread is done when it has risen almost to fill the can and the center has puffed slightly. (If center remains indented, steam 15 minutes or so more). Cool 10 minutes. Remove bread, best done by removing bottom of can and pushing bread out of can. Wrap; store overnight. Makes 4.

Bean Pots, not just used for cooking, I actually decorate with the ones that I have collected here and there. Here are a few of my pieces.

The cream colored bean Pot is McCoy. I was pleased to find it with the lid. Unfortunately, lids are always a casualty of being dropped one time too many or being chipped or just plain misplaced.

I love finding bean pots or any crock for that matter with words or other markings.

The bean pot in the center is marked E. Swasey Company. In 1890, Ebon Swasey established a crockery and glassware company in Portland, Maine. It remained in business until the Great Depression. During its operation, it turned out thousands of crocks and bean pots, each distinctly marked E. Swasey Co.

These are my two favorite pieces. The E. Swasey bean pot in the front is only 3 inches high and is complete with lid. This came from my father and is truly priceless. The B&M bean pot is dear to me because it also represents Portland, Maine. Burnham & Morrill Co. was founded by George Burnham and Charles S. Morrill. Its first products included canned meats, specifically mutton, pork, clams and lobster, along with canned vegetables. It wasn't until the 1920's that B&M began experimenting with Brick Oven Baked Beans. Today, B & M still bakes it beans the traditional way, a seven hour process, in open pots, in a brick oven.

I hope that you enjoy your baked beans and like my vintage bean pot collection. Please be sure to stop by to see Cole and all the other tasty recipes that folks there are showing.

Got it at Goodwill


GardenofDaisies said...

I LOVE your bean pots! what a great collection!! I have a very small brown one. I do love to make baked beans... mine take 2 hours to make.... Wow... 7 hours... really? Those must be super good.

Mimi said...

You have a nice collection of beanpots, Sherrie. I loved the B&M baked beans, they were the closest to homemade of any. When I make baked beans, being born and raised in Vermont I always use maple syrup instead of molasses! You have me craving baked beans...

Melody said...

What a nice bean pots full of memories!

Diann said...

You have some wonderful beanpots! I just bought my first beanpot a few weeks ago at SA. I can't wait to use it.

Brown bread is one of my ultimate favs!!! Oh, no one even gets any generally when I make it except me! LOL

Have a great day!

LambAround said...

I swear there are never things like this when I go to Goodwill. Next time, I will know that it's because you've already come along and scooped up all the great deals ;)

Angela said...

Thanks for the recipes! I am going to have to try that when it cools down later this month! I suppose I could bake them in my stoneware Pampered Chef Dutch Oven???

What a great collection you have!

Happy Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Tara Beaulieu said...

Mmmmm. Baked beans and brown bread. My absolute most favorite comfort foods in the world. Love it! Happy VTT and thanks for sharing your fab recipes!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing post, and it made me hungry. You have a great collection and wonderful memories. I'm so glad you shared them.