Friday, December 28, 2007
Beans 'n' Cornbread
In between Christmas and New Year's we try to keep the food a little lighter here. Beans are not as heavy as you may think, but heavy enough to be filling, and more than that, comforting. There's nothing better on a cold day, I assure you.
When I was a kid, my mom made beans and cornbread often. She's from the Midwest in an area that was settled mostly by people from Tennessee and Kentucky, so most of the food that mom grew up with had a heavy Southern influence. Regardless, my mom never made beans and cornbread with pinto beans; she always used navy beans.
I don't have an exact recipe for these beans, but it goes a little like this:
Cover 1 pound of navy beans with water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse them. In a big, heavy pot, cook about 5 slices of diced bacon until crisp. Don't drain that bacon grease! Leave it where it is and add a chopped onion, one chopped carrot and 2 chopped celery ribs. Add the beans and cover by one inch with chicken stock. Cook this over a low flame for just about forever, or until the beans are soft and the stock has thickened a bit. Add a generous tablespoon of salt and a healthy dose of pepper. Don't add salt while the beans are cooking or they'll get tough.
While those beans are cooking for the last half hour or so, make your cornbread. Please don't use that boxed stuff, real cornbread is so easy to make that there's just no excuse for it.
Makes one 8x8 pan
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
2 T. sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1 beaten egg
1/4 c. oil
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and baking powder
and stir together well.
Mix in milk, egg and oil.
Don't over mix this, you want your cornbread to be tender,
not rock-hard! Mix just until moistened.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a greased 8x8 pan at 400 degrees F
or until golden brown.
Now, you can serve this in a big bowl with the cornbread tucked off to the side, or do what we always did; smother that cornbread with beans and eat 'til you pop!