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!
Dutch Oven · New England · recipe

Durgin Park Baked Beans

Prepared in a Dutch Oven, of course!

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 is 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 two hundred years later, the Durgin Park menu is still full of all the old New England favorites–lobsters, chowder, Indian Pudding, Yankee Pot Roast and, of course, baked beans.

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!

 

parboiling navy beans for baked beans
After soaking the beans overnight, parboil them for ten minutes
Salt Pork for Baked Beans
Salt pork is still readily available in most New England grocery stores and the best choice for baked beans

 

 

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!
Christmas · DIY · recipe

Pizzelle: Auntie’s Italian Cookies

If you come from an Italian-American family, I have no doubt you had one auntie who seemed to be “in charge” of making the pizzelle for all the family gatherings. I’m pretty sure that’s because pizzelle makers were a bit expensive and therefore hard to justify as a purchase in more than one household.

In our family, my Auntie Elisa was the pizzelle maker.

Every family gathering and holiday Auntie Elisa would place a plate of gorgeous snowflake shaped cookies–complete with the distinctive aroma of anise–on the table for enjoying with coffee and company. Admittedly, I was completely enamored of pizzelle as a kid and I guess I still am today.

Sadly, when my father passed away in 2011, it became too difficult to continue our extended family gatherings and my annual pizzelle consumption took a dramatic nose dive.

Last year, I was ecstatic to find some authentic pizzelle in Costco and I remember bringing a small package to my Auntie Anna’s hospital bed. Her son and my cousin, Ricky, went on and on about them and it reminded me of the annual family gatherings we all attended. How I have missed those times.

Last year I lost two of my favorite aunties–Auntie Mary and Auntie Anna–and their passing has had a profound effect on my thoughts about family, home keeping and love ever since.

So, despite suffering from a serious knee injury this Christmas, I was determined to reinstitute some old family traditions and one of them was making the delicate, snowflake-like cookies that are called pizzelle.

Luckily I had procured a pizzelle maker some time ago; it was still new in its box and hanging out among my many Christmas decorations. Unfortunately if there were instructions, they were long gone, so it was up to me to figure out how to use it. Thankfully there is the internet and I cobbled together an updated recipe for chocolate pizzelle and set to testing out my maker.

If you can get your hands on an authentic pizzelle maker, I would urge you to try. There is nothing like a freshly made pizzelle! When they emerge from the iron, they are very pliable…but you only have a few seconds to shape them. It’s a fun challenge.

Obviously they can be enjoyed on their own with a fresh cup of coffee…but they are also excellent vehicles for a little extra something if you can work fast enough!

You can roll them like cannoli shells and fill them with homemade whipped cream. Or you can shape them into bowls and add a scoop of gelato! They could even be folded like a taco shell and stuffed with berries and cream!

And, obviously, they can be enjoyed plain, too!

So here’s my take on a Chocolate Pizzelle for you to enjoy. You’ll notice that they don’t have the traditional anise flavoring (or any flavoring!), but you can add it if you’d like. Orange or peppermint flavoring would taste especially good

Chocolate Pizzelle:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I like King Arthur)
  • 1/4 CUP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar, no lumps
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I prefer unsalted butter in my baking, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can substitute regular butter and adjust the salt in the recipe)
  • Water to adjust the thickness of your batter

If you are a purist and want to make your pizzelle the “old fashioned way” the ingredients are much the same

Classic Pizzelle:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, no lumps
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • Stick of melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. anise extract (you can substitute almond or even vanilla extract, but anise is the most traditional)
  • Water to adjust thickness of your batter

A few hints:

  • It’s important you start with the right consistency batter, so after mixing all the ingredients slowly add water until you get a thick batter….you don’t want it too watery
  • Heat up your iron thoroughly and then spray with cooking spray so your cookies won’t stick
  • Don’t use too much batter for each cookie! I used a standard table spoon and put the batter in the middle of both cookie Wells
  • You should stay with your cookies as they are cooking! They only take about two minutes and you CAN definitely over cook these. When you open the iron, the cookies will be pliable. You will learn as you go…it’s like pancakes!
  • The cookies will remain pliable once removed from the iron, but not for long! Seriously…like ONLY a few seconds. So if you want to shape them, have your tools–little bowls, medium sized rolling pin, funnel–ready BEFORE you take out the hot cookies
  • The iron gets hot…BUT (unfortunately) the best way to remove the cooked pizzelle is with your hands…another reason to work quickly
  • Only add one teaspoon of extract to this recipe and only if you want to! Pizzelle are not suppose to be super sweet, but subtle. The chocolate flavoring really came through without any extract and was made for a very nice “adult” cookie (therefore MO shunned them! Haha!)
  • It’s traditional to dust pizzelle with confectioners sugar, but it’s not necessary…they shouldn’t stick together
  • Store your cookies in airtight containers or zippy bags and they will last for several days!

I hope you enjoy my recipes! And if you have an Auntie, give her a call! She is always happy to hear from you!

Please note: When I started my blog, I didn’t realize I would be sharing so many recipes. I am now in the process of figuring out how to make my recipes printable, so please bear with me until I can figure that out!