Baked Beans · Legumes · Musings

Legume Love

Sorry, no picture.

I made a batch of baked beans again yesterday.  I’ve decided that when I have a day off mid-week, that’s what I’m going to make.  Not just because they’re yummy, but because we’re trying to keep our heating costs down this winter, and if I’m running the oven for 6 hours to cook the beans, not only will that throw off a little warmth, it’ll also make the house smell fabulous.

I used black beans this time around, along with two sausage patties from our Meat Day a few weeks ago.  I just broke up the patties and used them in place of salt pork.  I also added Mexican chili powder, coriander, maple syrup, the requisite whole onion, mustard powder, and salt.  Next time I’ll add a little more salt – the sausage isn’t as salty as the salt pork (duh).

I let those simmer for most of the day.

Then, shortly before the school/work day ended, I took the leftovers from Bill’s tamale-making on Sunday and made one giant tamale.  I didn’t have time to make little individual ones, so I figured I’d make a big one and just wrap it in foil.  Actually I double-wrapped it, then placed it in a rimmed cookie sheet, added water, covered the whole thing, and put that in the bottom of the 300 degree oven with the beans.  It steamed away for a couple hours like that and came out perfect.  I love it when stuff works the way I want it to.

I also cooked up some rice, and that was our meal – rice and beans, and a big tamale.  The kids just had the rice and beans – two servings each!  I’m so delighted about that – they like the homemade way better than anything I’ve bought in a can. 

And, looking at this from a cost perspective, it’s so much cheaper to make them at home.  A can of beans is, what over a dollar, right?  And how many ounces is it?  Less than a pound, I think.  Now, a pound of dried beans (the amount I used in this batch), is a little over a dollar, and it makes a full pot of beans.  Then there’s an onion (cheap), and either salt pork (cheap) or whatever other meaty thing you put in – if you put meat in at all.  You don’t even have to.  Then, all you need is time.  And yes, I know, it takes a little ahead-of-time planning – soak the beans the night before, and start them early in the day, but it’s not really that difficult, and the flavor is so much better. 

I’m so excited (doesn’t take much, does it?) to cook beans this winter.  In the oven…on the hearth.  Dark ones, light ones…with or without meat…spicy…sweet…savory.

I can tell.  It’s going to be the Winter of the Legumes.

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