Full disclosure: What you are looking at was supposed to be what I’ve been calling in my head “Highbrow Franks & Beans.” A few weeks ago, when I asked Andy what we should have simmering on the self-serve stovetop for Halloween night, he said, “Remember you made those baked beans one year while we carved pumpkins? Why don’t you do that again, and then get some really good hot dogs and call it franks and beans?” And so for weeks I’ve been picturing those sweet and bubbly beans inside the oven in our well-worn Le Creuset, while Andy wielded a carving knife and did his best to make the girls’ visions of toothy jack-0-lanterns come to life. Last Sunday, while everyone else was stocking up on bottled water and batteries for the storm, I was tracking down molasses and Niman Ranch franks. I had enough canned food in the pantry anyway — including a nice stash of Trader Joe’s organic baked beans that never allow a turkey burger to feel lonely in our house.
Well, Halloween was canceled. Instead of cozying up in our oven-warmed house, we were sleeping at my parents’ house across town — a house that does not have two sixty-foot oak and locust trees hovering over it — keeping watch on Hurricane Sandy. When we returned, we had no power or heat. And we had a fridge filled with things that had to be cooked or tossed –like, for instance, those hot dogs. But we were grateful for so many things, like our operational gas stove… and the fact that our house was still standing. So when what little daylight there was that afternoon vanished, we sat around the candle-lit dinner table, and pigged out on our fancy franks and those sweet, delicious beans — straight from the can.
Highbrow Franks & Beans
No reason for you guys to go without this just because my oven is down for the count. This is based on a Victoria Granof recipe from Time for Dinner and what I loved so much about working with Victoria (master food stylist and recipe developer) is that she considered it her life’s mission to dream up shortcuts wherever possible. That’s why you don’t see any soaking overnight here. She does the quick boil an hour ahead of time. Also, here is a link to some high-brow hot dogs that might be useful.
1 pound dried navy or great northern beans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 thick strips bacon
3 hot dogs, sliced into rounds as shown
In a large pan, cover the beans with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain.
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a bowl, combine everything else except the bacon. Stir in the beans.
Place 1 bacon strip at the bottom of a large ovenproof dish or Dutch oven. Pour the bean mixture over it, then push the other strip in.
Add just enough boiling water to the pot to cover everything. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, then a lid. Bake for 5 hours, checking hourly to make sure the beans aren’t drying out. (Add more water as necessary to keep them submerged.) Uncover for the last half hour to brown the top, if desired. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in hot dog slices until warmed through.
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