My Brother’s Beans aka The Best ‘Pork And Beans’ Ever
It’s no secret that I’m a bean freak (I soak ‘em) so when my brother and I were talking on the phone a couple of weeks ago and he told me about a ‘pork and beans’ recipe that he was making I was willing to listen – mostly to be polite. Honestly, ‘pork and beans,’ are not my thing. First of all I’m a vegetarian (mostly). Second of all, and my mind started jumping about, ‘pork and beans’??? Doesn’t that come in a can? Why would you want to make beefy and brown ketchup saucy ‘pork and beans’– a homemade version of the canned stuff.
As we know, ‘assumptions’ are dangerous and this one was no exception. My brother started talking about the beans with great enthusiasm. His voice elevated and actually became somewhat animated and he said ‘they’re these big, white, meaty, delicious beans – Emergo beans – bigger than lima beans.’ Wow. He got my attention. I had never heard of them. Now I was listening because I was interested – never mind the manner thing. I wanted to know about the beans. He offered to send me some.
While waiting for the arrival of my Emergos I did my own research on the things and it looked to me like they’re a big runner bean type bean and I mean BIG. I could not find a source for organic ones not even at Rancho Gordo (ranchogordo.com) so I was stuck with the not organic type of beans – ok ok ok.
And then the day came when the beans arrived in the mail. And, along with the beans came the recipe for the New York Times ‘pork and beans’ (as adapted by my bro), which turns out to be neither beefy nor brown ketchup saucy - but instead a delicious melding of flavors, rich but not heavy and definitely comforting. Better tasting one or two days later. Make it in advance or save some for even better leftovers.
Pork and Beans with Garlic and Greens (The New York Times as adapted by my brother Eric and as further adapted by moi)
Preheat oven to 350° Soak beans overnight
2 lbs of white beans soaked overnight. I used the Emergo beans but Cannellinis would be just fine and in fact that is what the original recipe calls for.
1 Tbsp oil
2 lbs boneless pork butt cut into 1 inch cubes (I had the Butcher do it – just ask)
1 yellow onion sliced
10 cloves of garlic peeled
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes or canned 2 cups thinly sliced kale or mustard greens
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp chipotle pepper flakes or pepper if you don’t have flakes
1 quart or more of chicken stock – homemade is best. I used a combination of homemade chicken and homemade vegetable.
Directions: Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Heat the oil in a large Dutch-oven or other large, heavy pot, over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the pork cubes and brown well on all sides. Remove the pork from the pot and add the onion and sauté stirring occasionally until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Add the pork, beans, tomatoes, greens, mustard, salt and chipotle flakes/pepper and stock to cover. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the beans are tender about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Check every half-hour or so after the first hour and add stock or water as needed if water is absorbed. The beans should be soft tender when done.
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