In cowboy movies purporting to show life on the range, the outdoor cook, affectionately known as “Cookie” relied heavily on meals of baked beans.
The beans went a long ways to satisfying hungry cowhands living in the outdoors for days and days. The beans also served another purpose: the juices in the beans soften those hard-as-rocks biscuits produced over an open fire beside the chuckwagon.
This week’s recipes offer ideas for using beans, in a variety of forms, to feed hungry appetites.
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2-3 pieces of bacon
6 cups dried beans
3 tbsps. lard
1 1/3 lbs. fancy molasses
2 cups or more ketchup
1/2 cup lard
1 tbsp. dry mustard
Wash beans and remove any shrivelled ones. Put cleaned beans into a 6 quart Dutch oven or heavy roaster. Cover with lukewarm water to a depth of 4-5 inches above the beans. Soak overnight.
In the morning add 3 tbsps. of lard and boil beans for 1 hour or more. Beans are done when they begin to split. Remove from heat.
Add molasses, ketchup, 1/2 cup lard and mustard. Mix gently. The mixture should be sloppy.
Cut bacon into small pieces. Add to beans mixture.
Put beans in oven and bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 275 degrees F and bake for 3-4 hours longer. Cover the beans after they brown.
Baking will reduce the water so you might have to add more water or add some tomato juice. Salt and pepper to taste. This recipe serves 16-18.
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Full Meal Beans
1/2 lb. bacon
1 cup chopped onions
1-14 oz. can green beans, drained
1-14 oz. can lima beans, drained
1-14 oz. can pork and beans
1-14 oz. can kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper or to taste
Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until brown and crisp. Remove bacon and discard about half the fat.
Sauté onion in remaining fat.
In a large roaster, combine remaining ingredients with bacon and onion. Cover. Heat in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serves 8-10. Recipe may be doubled for a larger crowd.
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Green Beans and Bacon
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cups green beans, sliced diagonally
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
Fry bacon pieces until crisp. Add onion and sauté.
Grease an 8 inch square casserole and put in beans. Top beans with bacon and onion and sprinkle with toasted almonds.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat bean mixture for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serves 3-4.
Note: Canned green beans may be used when fresh beans aren’t available.
Joyce Walter can be reached at email@example.com