We’ll be seeing lots of baked pork and beans at picnics this summer, but I bet plenty of those will be poured from a can.
They can be made from scratch, the old-fashioned way, with dried beans and real pork. When made from scratch, they can be a pretty hearty meal, particularly when served with cornbread and a salad.
Who better to go to for a recipe on how to do it the old-fashioned way than the Amish?
Here’s a recipe from the new book Amish Cooks Across America ($29.99, hardcover, Andrews-McMeel) by Ohio writer Kevin Williams of Middletown, and Amish cook Lovina Eicher of Michigan. The book describes Amish recipes and traditions from communities across the country, including those in Ohio. This recipe is traditional of the Amish community in Ethridge, Tenn.
PORK ’N’ BEANS
1 lb. dried navy beans or Great Northern beans
2 tbsp. salt
8 cups water
1 lb. boneless pork, cut into very small pieces
For the sauce:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 quart tomato juice
2 cups water
1½ cups ketchup
¼ cup cornstarch
Remove any debris from the beans, then rinse them and cover them with water in a large bowl. Add the salt and let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans three times, then cover them with the 8 cups water, bring the water to a boil, add the pork, then decrease the heat to low. Simmer until the beans are soft and the pork is cooked through, 45 minutes to an hour. Drain the beans and pork and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, make the sauce: Place all the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook the sauce mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced and thickened, about 1 hour.
About 10 minutes before the cooking is finished, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the pork mixture with the sauce and pour into a large casserole dish. Bake in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly, about 40 minutes.
Makes 12 servings.
Note: Add 2 tablespoons of molasses to the sauce for extra sweetness.