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SOME WELL-SEASONED BAKED BEANS

This recipe is my all-time favorite for this old-fashioned, soul-satisfying dish. It is from my newest book, "Jeanne Jones' Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy" (Rodale Press, $27.95). The secret of its fabulous flavor is the Southern Seasoning and the long baking time that allows the seasonings to blend. This sensational, practically fat-free seasoning is also wonderful for flavoring vegetables, soups and stews of all types, as well as this baked bean dish. For this reason, I am including it as a separate recipe, complete with its own nutritional information. However, it is included in the nutritional information for Classic Baked Beans.

CLASSIC BAKED BEANS

1pound small white beans, soaked all day or overnight

3tablespoons molasses

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1tablespoon dry mustard

1teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6cups Southern Seasoning, recipe follows
Rinse, drain and pick over the beans. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until tender.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Drain the beans thoroughly and return to the pot. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

Spray a bean pot or a 2-quart casserole with non-stick cooking spray and spoon the bean mixture into the pot. Cover and bake for 4 hours, stirring every hour.

Uncover the beans and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Each 1-cup serving contains approximately 369 calories, 3 grams fat, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 757 milligrams sodium, 63 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein, 9 grams fiber.

SOUTHERN SEASONING

1to 2 pounds ham hocks or smoked pork hocks

8to 10 cups water, or to cover
Put the ham hocks in a deep pot or soup kettle, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the meat starts to fall off of the bones, about 3 hours.

Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Remove all fat congealed on the top, and remove the ham hocks from the liquid and discard the bones, skin and all fat. Shred the lean meat, return it to the liquid and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, pop the cubes of "seasoning" from the trays and store in plastic freezer bags. Use the frozen cubes to season soups, stews and casseroles. Two cubes equal about 1/4 cup. Makes 24 servings.

Each 1/4 -cup serving contains approximately 8 calories, negligible fat, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 86 milligrams sodium, negligible carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, no fiber.

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