Some time ago we inherited my Wife’s Great-Grandmother’s bean pot. We still use it from time to time.
Yesterday, my wife told me that she would be going to her Grandmother’s apartment this afternoon. She does this at least once a week. She cleans, does the laundry, and then visits for Dinner. I thought this would be a good time to send Grandma some homemade beans, baked in her Mother’s old pot.
I decided to make some sweet corn bread to go with the beans. So I searched the internet and found a recipe that I tweaked slightly. It came out great! But I cannot, in good conscience, call this “Corn BREAD“... I’m gonna have to call it “Corn CAKE”.
For this entire meal you will need:
1 Pound of beans (I used Great Northern).
1 Large sweet onion.
1 12 ounce package of unsliced salt pork.
1/3 Cup molasses.
1/3 Cup brown sugar.
1 Tsp. dry mustard.
1/2 Tsp. Pepper.
¼ cup Ketchup.
2 Cups Bisquick.
¼ Cup cornmeal.
3/4 Cup melted butter.
1 Cup sugar.
1 Cup milk.
Step 1: The Day Before.
Let’s start with the beans. I ran to the store and picked up one pound of Great Northern beans. You can use Navy beans, but I prefer Great Northern.
A large sweet onion.
And, a package of Salt Pork. When choosing the salt pork I look for one that is evenly split between meat and fat. Some of the cuts look like bacon, but that does not work well for this recipe.
Soak the beans overnight. You can see that they will triple in size. So be sure to add lots of water.
Step 2: The Next Day
Drain the beans, put them in a saucepan and cover them with fresh water. I added a pinch of salt.
Cut the salt pork, separating the fat from the meat.
I then scored the fat in about one half inch strips. I had read some time ago that this was a technique used by whale hunters when they would render the blubber. I don’t know why that bit of trivia stuck with me, but I now use it when I bake beans.
Add the slab of fat to the beans. Bring them to a boil and let it cook for about 12 minutes.
Step 3: While the Beans Boil
While the beans are boiling, slice the meat from the salt pork into half inch cubes.
Slice your sweet onion into half inch slices.
Step 4: Make the Juice & Prepare the Pot
After 12 minutes, discard the pork fat, and drain the beans. Save the liquid and put it back into the saucepan.
To the liquid add: Add 1/3 cup molasses, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 Tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 Tsp. pepper, and some ketchup… About a quarter of a cup. Bring this back to a boil and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
While the liquid is boiling, place one slice of onion and about one forth of the salt pork in the bottom of the bean pot.
Add beans… Then another onion slice and salt pork. Keep adding these layers until everything is used up.
Step 5: Add the Juice & Bake
Now pour the liquid over the beans. Stop when the top beans are just covered.
Cover the pot with the lid and bake at 300 degrees for 5 hours.
Step 6: Part 2 the Corn Cake
Fast forward 4 hours, and begin step #2 The “Corn cake”.
You will need: 2 cups Bisquick, ¼ cup cornmeal, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 cup melted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs. Just mix all of these ingredients together.
While I mixed all of the ingredients, the cast iron skillet was in the oven preheating.
I greased the hot skillet with bacon drippings. (I have an old “grease jar” that I use to save the drippings whenever we make bacon. I love to pop popcorn in it!… But, I digress…) Just pour the mix into the skillet, put the skillet into the oven with the beans, and bump the temperature up to 350 degrees. If you timed it right the beans will have just about 40 minutes to go. That’s how long it took the corn cake to bake. I called it done when a toothpick was inserted and came out clean.
Step 7: It's DONE!
Here it is just as it came out of the oven.
Half of the corn cake and a couple of helpings of beans were taken out, and the rest was sent with my wife to her Grandmother.
Step 8: The End.
While my beautiful wife was cleaning her Grandmothers apartment, I cleaned some of our house… Stopping of course for a little while… To eat like a king!
Thanks for looking!