Friday, October 29, 2010

Pork and Beans

A five-pound pork shoulder roast, oven-braised all day with barbecue seasonings and navy beans until the large chunks of pork fall apart, tender, and the beans are firm yet creamy through to the center.

This is a classic American dish, rendered unrecognizable by the commercial products that have replaced it for more than a generation.

Pork and beans, beans and wienies, and similar dishes can all trace their roots back to cassoulet, a French peasant dish of white beans, slowly stewed with mixed meats that vary but often include pork shoulder, garlic sausage, and duck confit. It's rich, hearty food, and this American descendant is no exception.

One thing you know for sure about the pork and beans you buy in a can: it never has enough pork. This recipe has got a ton of pork in it. Delicious, melt in your mouth pork shoulder.

Pork and Beans

5 lbs pork butt or shoulder, cut into rough 3" cubes
2 cups of dry navy beans, rinsed well and soaked overnight in a quart of water and a teaspoon of salt
8 cups meat stock (I used 6 cups chicken and 2 cups beef)
6 or more cloves of garlic, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 apples, cored and chopped
1/2 cup molasses
A bay leaf
1/4 cup tomato paste
1T paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Season the pork with the paprika, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper.

Put all of the ingredients into a roasting pan and bake at 300 degrees, stirring every half hour, until the beans are thoroughly cooked. If the mixture seems too dry for the beans to absorb liquid, add more stock. It takes several hours for the beans to be done; at that point, the pork should already be falling-apart tender, and the onions and apples will have completely disintegrated.

Serves two men for a week.
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