Dutch Oven · New England · recipe

NEW YouTube video: Durgin-Park Baked Beans

https://youtu.be/JEtPWAuXAuY

It’s time for some truly authentic Yankee cooking!

I’m proud to share my favorite Yankee recipes–starting with these amazing Durgin-Park Boston Baked Beans!

These are so simple to make and very inexpensive, too!  Perfect for our Yankee Traditions video series just beginning on the “Miss Rita To The Rescue!” YouTube channel!

bakedbeans

If you’ve ever heard of Boston, you may have heard it being referred to as “Beantown”.

And–although most people from around here never refer to Boston as Beantown (really…never ever!)–baked beans have been a staple at Bostonian tables for generations.  And for good reason!  Beans are nutritious, hearty and inexpensive to prepare.  With a pound of dried navy beans, a chunk of salt pork, some molasses and a few other simple ingredients, you could appease a large family on a cold Saturday night–the traditional bean eating night.

I’m not old enough to remember when Saturdays were regular bean cooking days, but I do recall preparing baked beans for special occasions–such as Easter–and, of course, seeing beans offered as a side dish on every New England menu, including at Durgin Park.  Baked beans are especially good as a compliment to scrambled eggs or served for with boiled hot dogs for supper.  Yes, hot dogs are boiled or steamed in New England and served on open topped buns, too!  We’re weird, I know…

If you’re not from Boston you might be wondering what exactly Durgin-Park is.  I’m sure you’ve figured out it isn’t a park at all, but a restaurant.  A very old New England restaurant.

Actually Durgin-Park was the second oldest restaurant in Boston–second only to the Union Oyster House, which has been serving food since the days of the Revolution!  And, up until a few months ago, Durgin-Park served up old New England favorites–lobsters, chowder, Indian Pudding, Yankee Pot Roast and, of course, baked beans to the masses for more than two centuries!

Back in the 80s, Durgin Park distributed their famous recipes as a souvenir, which is where I got my recipe.  I don’t dare change anything about the original recipe for fear of being accused of making improvements on an already perfect thing.  My only adjustment is to use my new mini Dutch Oven instead of a traditional (but messy) bean pot.

Ingredients:

  • One pound of dried navy beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda (for the parboiling)
  • 1/2 pound of salt pork (or thick cut bacon if not available), cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, peeled but not cut
  • 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar (I prefer brown sugar, but the recipe does not specify)
  • 3 cups of hot water to start plus more as beans cook

 

Instructions:

  • Begin preparing the beans the night before by soaking them in water.  You may need to add more water halfway through the soaking process as the beans rehydrate, so check them before you go to sleep.  Don’t try to use canned beans for this recipe or to rush the soaking and parboiling process, because we Yankees will know if you did!
  • In the morning, rinse the beans and boil them with the baking soda for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse the parboiled beans and set aside.
  • Dice the salt pork into chunks and peel and halve the onion (do not chop).  Put half of the salt port in the bottom of the pot along with the onion.
  • Add the beans to the pot and cover with remaining salt pork.
  • Combine salt, pepper, dry mustard, molasses and sugar with 3 cups of hot water and mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture over the beans.  Cover your pot.
  • Bake your covered Dutch Oven (or bean pot, if you have one) in a preheated 325 degree oven for six hours, checking about every hour or so to see if the beans need water
  • Top off the beans as needed throughout the baking process
  • Remove the onion and salt pork bits (or not…up to you!) and serve!

 

Simmering baked beans
The beans are simmered for six hours in the oven and should be checked regularly to make sure there is enough liquid on top
Baking beans needing water
When the liquid on the top of your pot begins to cook off, you should replace it with enough water to just submerge the beans in water.
Last night's beans with eggs
Leftover beans are great served with breakfast and also make a great bean sandwich!
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Dutch Oven · New England · recipe

Beef & Barley Soup in the Dutch Oven

Beef & Barley Soup–if you don’t count chowder–is quite possibly the quintessential New England soup.

But nowadays finding a good version can be difficult to find, except maybe in a can. And even the best canned soups are still too salty and tinny for regular consumption.

So, I set about making a healthy and easy Beef & Barley that would rival the ease of warming up a canned version and I think I’ve done it. Of course, I used my trusty Dutch Oven, but I also used my Instant Pot to make ready the beef.

I started with a small piece of meat that was intended as a small roast. I got it on sale for less than $4 and it weighed just under two pounds. Because I froze it when I bought it, I first defrosted it and then cooked it with a small amount of beef broth and some salt and pepper in the Instant Pot on the beef setting. Couldn’t be easier, but note that you could use a portion of roast beef leftovers if you have that.

Once the beef was cooked and had rested, I chopped it up in small pieces and tossed it into the Dutch Oven along with some tomato sauce, a box of beef broth and the drippings from the Instant Pot. I added a can of peas and carrots, but you could use fresh or frozen. It’s up to you, of course.

The Barley was cooked separately from a dried bag of the grain. If you’re wondering where you find dried Barley, check the dried beans section of your grocery store. Once cooked, add the Barley to the soup toward the end of the cooking to keep it from getting too soggy.

Small oyster crackers are the only thing you need to complete this wonderful, homey meal, which is perfect for a cold late Autumn supper.

One small points:

This soup is exceptionally economical. I figured the entire recipe cost me under ten dollars for ten servings!

Ingredients:

  • Small cut of roast beef, prepared either in an oven or Instant Pot, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • Box of beef broth
  • Small can of tomato sauce
  • Can of diced carrots and peas
  • About two cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Barley, 1 cup, dried and cooked separately with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook beef in Instant Pot with a small amount of beef broth and allow to rest OR use precooked cut of roast beef
  2. Slice and then dice the cooked beef and place in Dutch Oven with any pan drippings from the cooking of the beef
  3. Add tomato sauce, beef broth and water to the Dutch Oven and bring contents to boil on the stovetop
  4. Reduce heat to allow the soup to slowly boil off some of the added water and thicken, about 1 hour
  5. Meanwhile in a separate pan, bring the dried Barley to boil with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste; cook for 45 minutes
  6. After cooking off some of the liquid, add the can of peas and carrots and the Barley
  7. Allow soup to simmer for an hour or more so that all the flavors meld together
  8. Serve with small oyster crackers

Dutch Oven · recipe

Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowl

Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls

Hi fellow Weight Watchers!

I’m back again with another yummy and “WW friendly” Mexican-style main dish.  This one is an old favorite that I plugged into the WW App and only modified slightly to produce a 6 point large entree to die for!  Soooo yummy for the tummy!

I like to prepare this one in a Dutch Oven, because of its even heating, but it can also be prepared in a regular pot, too!  My 12 year old son–MO–loves this one and he’s not even a Weight Watcher!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups canned/boxed chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies (I use Rotel)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cans/jars of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn kernals
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

 

Instructions:

  1. Add oil to your Dutch Oven and heat for a minute or so.  Toss in onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook for a minute or two.  Add chicken chunks and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until vegetables are soft and chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Add the rice and stir to combine.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until rice and chicken is light golden brown.
  3. Add chicken broth, canned tomatoes and chilies, enchilada sauce, corn, chili powder and cumin.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Cook covered until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid or for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat and add the black beans.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  6. Makes 6 *very generous* servings, which equal to about of only 6 Weight Watcher points, as prepared.  Note: If you serve it with a low-fat sour cream and/or a sprinkling of low-fat Mexican cheese you need to consult your app and add for the additional toppings. 
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls sprinkled with optional low-fat Mexican cheese (don’t forget to add points for the cheese!)

 

Dutch Oven · recipe

How To Expertly Cut a Pineapple

PLUS learn to make Pera-Pina (Pineapple Rice Drink) with the leftover rind!

My Dominican friend stopped by this morning with a fresh pineapple!

I love fresh pineapple–it’s just so sweet and refreshing.  Some experts are now saying pineapple holds the secrets to reducing inflammation and pain, too.

As much as I love fresh pineapple, I rarely buy an uncut one.  Mostly because I’ve never been able to cut a whole pineapple correctly.  I always feel like I am cutting off too much fruit and throwing most of it away.

Enter my lovely Dominican friend–Santo Espinal–with a bag full of fruit and a fresh pineapple.  Since I have always struggled with the proper way to cut a fresh pineapple, I seized the opportunity to document the correct way to cut one from a true expert!   PLUS I got a delicious new drink to make with the unused rind and core…ALL of which I am going to share with you today.

 

Cutting a Pineapple the Right Way
Once cored, slice the piece into bite sized pieces

How to Expertly Cut a Fresh Pineapple:

  1. Twist off the crown and remove any dead leaves on the bottom.
  2. Using a sharp knife and holding the pineapple steady with one hand, begin making long cuts to the rind.  Be sure to remove enough rind that the dimples don’t remain.
  3. Work your way around the entire pineapple until all of the rind is removed.
  4. Lay the pineapple on its side and cut about a half inch from the bottom.
  5. Keep all the pineapple trimmings, excluding the crown, for making the pineapple rice juice.
  6. Turn the pineapple upright and cut off a side.
  7. Remove the tough core of each side–as if you are filleting a fish–and then chunk up the remaining fruit.  Keep the tough core for the juice.
  8. Chill the fruit and enjoy!

 

 


 

How to make Pera-Piña, aka Pineapple Rice Juice:

  1. Chunk the pineapple rind and core and place it in your Dutch Oven.
  2. Add 1 cup white rice and about 1/2 cup of oatmeal to the rinds.
  3. Fill the pot up with water and set to boil.
  4. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring a few times.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  The mixture is starchy, so expect a film to form on top.
  6. Process the entire contents in a blender.  You may have to do this in batches, as I did, because it requires a bigger blender than I have.
  7. Strain the blended juice–admittedly this part is difficult as my blended juice was very, very thick and still super hot to process.  If this happens to you, I’d suggest you add water to your mixture to help strain it better.  Or you can skip the straining and use a spoon to scoop out any big pieces that may be left behind.
  8. Sweeten if desired.  Most Dominicans add sweetener, but I could see not doing this.
  9. Chill the juice thoroughly before serving.

 

 

And THAT, my friends, is how you expertly handle a fresh pineapple according to a native of the Dominican Republic.  Oh! And you also learned how to be extra frugal by using the discarded fruit for a delicious drink!

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe and instruction, please let me know.  My Dominican friend Santo knows a LOT of interesting recipes and is always trying to show me them.  If you are interested in learning more about Dominican/Caribbean food and culture, he is ready and waiting to show us all a few things!

Fresh Pineapple
Never let a fresh pineapple intimidate you again!

 

 

DIY · Dutch Oven

Cleaning Your Dutch Oven

bread in the dutch oven
Bread in the Dutch Oven

As you may have figured out, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with my Dutch Oven.

If you are just tuning in, you can read all about WHY I love my new enameled cast-iron pot here:  Why I love my Dutch Oven

I’ve been using my Christmas gift non-stop and have blogged about many recipes, some of which you can find here:

Quick & Easy General Tso’s Chicken: Another Dutch Oven Recipe

Recipe: Crusty Italian Bread in the Dutch Oven

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup Gratinee

Beer Battered Fried Pickles in the Dutch Oven…of course!


stains in dutch oven
Ugly stains left on the inside of my Dutch Oven

Alas!  As with any romance, it can’t be ALL champagne and roses!

As I was preparing all of these fabulous dishes, I noticed my beloved Dutch Oven started to take a beating.  It no longer just wiped clean after a messy recipe and I started to see marks left on the bottom inside of the pot…as well as stains on the outside cover and bottom.

Needless to say, my heart hurt a little thinking that my beautiful Christmas gift was already looking a little shabby.

Luckily we’ve got Google and Pinterest to save the day!

In my search for a cure to bring my Dutch Oven back to life, I found two tips–both involving baking soda–that have revived my darling pot and for just pennies!

Let me start by saying, I’ve kept baking soda in my kitchen for nearly 30 years.  It’s just a fabulous thing!  Baking soda inexpensive, powerful and extremely versatile. And although it’s useful in cooking, it is often overlooked as a cleaning product.

The first thing I did to get the bottom of my Dutch Oven back to its beautiful white enameled self was to simply boil water with baking soda in my pot. No scrubbing at all and–just like that–the inside of my pot looked brand new!

Baking soda and water
Boil about a quarter cup of baking soda in water

After I boiled the baking soda and water for about 15 minutes, I noticed the stains on the inside were disappearing like magic…and no scrubbing!  Granted it isn’t brand new, but it looks better than it did before, which lifted my spirits a bit.

inside of cleaned dutch oven
Results after boiling with water and baking soda

Boiling baking soda and water works for the inside of the Dutch Oven, but what about the outside?  To clean the outside and the lid, I went with a baking soda paste.  The paste was simply baking soda mixed with a small amount of water.

Using a sponge, I dabbed the paste on the outside of the pot and worked in a circular motion.  Without much scrubbing at all, the stains began to magically disappear!

It was THAT simple!

Again…I didn’t get my Dutch Oven back to its pristine state, but I *did* get most of the stains off and managed to shine it up in the process.  I even did both sides of the lid with the baking soda paste.

Don’t you just love tricks that are just super simple and yet effective?

So if you have a well-used Dutch Oven that needs a little sparkle, may I suggest a little baking soda? You will be back to loving your Dutch Oven in a snap!!