Monday, June 27, 2011

Baked Beans and BBQ

One year we made the huge mistake of waiting until July third to get ribs from Gartner's, Portland palace of all things meat, for the following day's barbecue. While there was no danger they'd run out, and they were flying through the tickets from the take-a-number machine, we were still about eighty customers from getting our order. This year we'll make plans to go earlier, and the following baked bean recipe from contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood would be the perfect side.

I got over the flu just in time for my son Tom’s wedding this weekend. Beautiful bride, incredible setting in the Gorge, sunshine, good friends, family old and new and, of course, delicious food. Tom asked me make the same beans I made for his brother’s wedding last summer, so here they are again.

Fagiole Agrodulce Redux

Agrodulce, literally strong-sweet in Italian, comes close to the classic flavor of baked beans, but with a bit more tang. The sour comes from vinegar, and since cooking beans with anything acidic leaves them tough, you need to cook the beans until tender without it.

Cook a pound of Washington's Haricot Farms rojo chiquito (small red) beans* with salt, olive oil, and enough water to cover by an inch or more in a covered pot in a 200° oven for at least few hours or until they’re tender (add more water if necessary; if you smell beans, that usually means the need some). You could also soak them and cook on the stovetop, but please do so gently.

For the agrodulce, chop a couple of onions and combine them with about a half cup of honey, a cup of Katz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc or Zinfandel vinegar*, a big handful of fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped, and more olive oil. Simmer on the stovetop for at least an hour, then cook with the beans, uncovered, for another hour or until the sauce reduces a bit and the beans aren’t too runny. Adjust the salt if necessary.

Good hot, I think they’re even better at room temperature, so take them on your next picnic.

* Any small red beans will work, as will any good quality white or red wine vinegar. - KAB

Photo from Haricot Farms.

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