Dark Days Week 5 - beans and greens

It's not a traditional new year's meal, but to me this felt somewhat appropriate for the midwest. 

Baked Beans with Tomatoes, adapted from Meta Givens : Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, 1959

1+ cup dried beans, soaked (I used Brokton beans, homegrown)
1 medium onion, sliced (market)
several strips bacon (Pecatonica Valley Farms)
1 pint jar of crushed tomatoes (homegrown)
1 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1 dried cayenne pepper (homegrown)
1/4 cup molasses*

Cook pre-soaked beans at a simmer in water to cover for about an hour, checking for done-ness periodically and adding salt about halfway through.  Brown bacon in a small dutch oven, then pull the meat, drain off extra fat, and sautee onions in what remains.  Then add the cooked beans, tomatoes, mustard, and a chopped/ground cayenne pepper, seeds and all.  Once this nears a boil, add the molasses and bacon, and put it covered into a 250-300 degree oven for an hour or so.  (I started higher, then found it boiling a bit much, so I turned it down.)  The last 45 minutes or so take the lid off and it will form a gooey crust on top.

As for greens, I had a little kale left from my last hoop harvest, and though it was holding up well in the fridge I didn't want it to go to waste.  Also, a welcome addition at the turn of the month was a huge uptick in my egg production (hooray for the solstice and longer days!).  That, and some aging WW sourdough bread put me in the mood for a strata.  I based it loosely on this recipe, but switched kale for chard, changed up the cheeses and herbs, added sundried tomatoes, and cooked all the filling in one skillet to simplify things.  I also made the filling ahead and presoaked it with the custard for a few hours in the fridge, which is fairly common in strata recipes.

Happy New Year! 

*my molasses was labeled as MI, product of USA, which is possibly the source as Michigan does have a beet sugar industry, but it's also likely they imported the main ingredients from Hawaii.... The original recipe listed brown sugar as an option, I bet honey would also work.  But oh, the molasses really makes it taste wonderful.

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  1. Hi Sara: Your beans look great--with the winter we're having, it's the kind of dish I'm craving constantly! Regarding the "molasses," is it possible that it's sorghum syrup? I know they make that in Wisconsin, too, and it is sometimes just called molasses. I tend to go for maple syrup as sweetener in a bean pot. Best~ Brett

  2. Ahh, of course maple syrup would have been good, and I even had that. D'oh!

    I should pick up some sorghum, I've seen it at our markets and would like to compare it to molasses. But this was just grocery store molasses, I did choose the regional brand, though ha!


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