Wednesday, May 12, 2010
If you will remember, I purchased a big hunk of Oscar's Smokehouse smoked pork loin last week. After several days of feasting on lovely slices of that beautiful porky bastard,
I had some left overs. This seemed to me to a perfect opportunity to whip up a mess of old timey' pork n' beans. I love pork and beans and feel very strongly about the fact that it should consist of pretty much just pork and beans. Versions with maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc... have their place, but sometimes I want a simpler, purer pot of beans.
I began with the above pictured HamBeens brand pintos. I am a sucker for retro packaging, and I will buy HamBeens everytime (they also make HamPees). I take the packet of "Artificial Ham Flavor" and save it for some other ham-y purpose, perhaps to sprinkle on my cornflakes. There are many schools on bean cookery, but for this version I use the quick method. Throw the beans in a bunch of water and bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let sit for an hour.
The ends of the smoked pork loin are the best for beans, in addition to the pork flavor you get a good amount of smokiness. I dice the pork fairly fine, a cup or so of pork will do nicely for a bag of beans.
After the beans have been sitting for an hour, drain and rinse well. Here I insert a strange bean making ritual that I am not sure really makes sense, but I do it anyways. I bring the beans to a boil again in fresh water for 45 minutes, and then drain and rinse a second time. This is prior to any salt, seasoning, or ham additions. It is only now that I add fresh water, ham, a whole onion (halved), and some ground pepper (still no salt).
Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are completely tender and are beginning to break down into a creamy, hammy, sloppy mess. It is only at this point that you add salt, be generous, 1 to 2 teaspoons depending on your taste.
These are versatile beans. They possess a beautiful smoky pork flavor and can be used in a myriad of dishes. I like them over some white rice topped with some crispy bacon bits (for texture). They are also good in burritos/tacos/juevos rancheros. Alternately, they can be thinned out with broth or water for a kick ass bean soup.