If there's a potluck, it's assumed that Bea will bring beans. And if Bea decides to bring something else? People have been known to pout.
"Oh, I was really looking forward to Aunt Bea's beans."
"What? No beans from Bea? Darn."
So here they are.
Pull out your trusty recipe card. The one you've had for forty years or more. Fondly remember the times you've made this recipe, and the adjustments made. Each time they're a little bit different. If you have to, squint to read the distinctive writing while lamenting the decline of cursive writing.
|Recipe Card Front|
|Recipe Card Back|
Measure and sort the beans.
|Drag a good amount from the pile.|
|Quickly scan to see if there are any small stones. Also admire the beautiful rings.|
|Pull the clean beans into a waiting dish.|
Soak the beans and rinse well.
|Rinse until water is clear.|
Boil the beans until soft. Just before adding the baking soda, mom leans over and quietly reveals a story about a family friend who claims that baking soda "Take the farts out." Later I learned that indeed, baking soda does help lower flatulence associated with beans.
|Beans before boiling.|
|Beans after boiling.|
Mix the beans with other ingredients. Taste to be sure they're tasty. Feel free to taste repeatedly. The beans are certainly edible at this point, but they're not baked. So hold yourself back from consuming too many beans at this stage because seriously, they're even better fresh from the oven.
|Beans mixed and ready for baking.|
Bake. The beans come out of the oven bubbly. If you've gotten the recipe right, the baking pan will be blackened in some areas. And each time you make these, your family will fall in love all over again.
2 pounds dry beans (4 cups)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup catsup
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup vinegar
Sort and wash beans in cold water. Cover with cold water, and soak overnight. Drain.
Place in large sauce pan. Cover with warm water and boil gently about one hour. After coming to first boil, add 1 teaspoon soda. Skim foam to remove any specks. Then boil gently until soft (not mushy.) Remove from heat. Drain off liquid and reserve. Put beans in dish used for oven baking. Stir and add reserved liquid to cover beans. Bake at 350 for an hour and a half. Reduce heat to 325. Bake 1/2 hour.
Variations: Microwave bacon strips 4-6 until crisp. Crumble and mix into beans. Return to oven at 325. Mom has also used homemade catsup in place of the store bought. Feel free to vary the amounts to suit the tastes of your family.
Suggestions: This recipe makes a lot of beans - easily enough to share at a potluck or family gathering. I imagine you could halve the recipe. And I can guarantee that, if you put them in the fridge overnight, they'll taste just as good tomorrow.