bean there, done that.
Do you do that too? Rip out a recipe, tuck it into your recipe binder or 'try-this' file, then promptly forget it? And I am talking years here.
This bean recipe has lived in the confines of my recipe pile, a bursting folder of potential table-worthy candidates that gained their way out of a magazine, off a website, or from a newspaper and got in line. It is a long line of recipes---waiting patiently or not---to be made in my kitchen. When will their turn come? How long must one wait?
Sometimes the line moves fast, sometimes it stands frozen for months on end. If your season passes, toss up those culinary hands and wait it out---your rotation has been stymied. And god forbid, the controller of this line (chef moi) might go through and actually clean out the recipe folder. Recipes vaporize, ushered permanently out of line, those carefully selected entrees and appetizers all of a sudden transported to the recycle bin---or worse, the fireplace (it has been cold in Seattle, after all).
But as with pruning a tree, cuts are necessary, and in the end it brings new life and better growth to that said tree. And I did clean out my file last month. And my recipe binder is all clean a pretty, more organized than it has been in years and guess what? The line is moving again.
Just last night I made celery bisque with stilton toasts---in line for at least 4 years---and a few nights before that, I made this bean dish (who must've cut in line, having only waited for 2 years)... though to be fair, the thought of this bean dish has been with me for 5 or 6 years: it all began at a restaurant in Seattle where they used to (the restaurant no longer exists) serve a blue cheese salad, lightly dressed, with a small pile of caramelized onions and a neighboring small scoop of chili beans. The spice and sweet set against the backdrop of pungent blue dressing and crisp salad greens still haunt me to this day.
This particular bean dish will not rebuild that memory---they are too sweet. Though it can stand in for this memory, the classic pot-luck favorite: pork and beans (aka baked beans). The ones that you used to eat next to burgers or sloppy joes. But these aren't from the can. And my family loved this recipe; it will stay in my file.
There will be more beans in my future, a hunt for recipes to add to the waiting line, a spicy blend that will be belong with my favorite salad. Trust me, you will know when I have found 'the one'; that bean recipe will march deftly to the front of the line, its name will be called to accompany its cheesy, caramelized and crispy friends to my kitchen. But until then:
Pork & Beans 6 ounces bacon (1/3 package) 1/4 cup white sugar 1 T cornstarch 1 tsp salt 1 pinch black pepper 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar 1/4 cup water 2 cans chili beans (or select 2-3 cans of beans, such as red kidney with pinto and black beans, etc.)
Cook bacon in skillet (meanwhile, open and drain beans); remove bacon and drain bacon grease (leave just 1-2 T of grease in skillet) . Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, pepper in small bowl, then add to skillet. Add vinegar and water, cook and stir until boiling. Add drained beans. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.