When the media started to bombard us with dire predictions about Hurricane Lee, I admit to getting a little bit panicky in view of my experience with a strong nor'easter last winter. Quick reminder for those who did not read my slightly fraught newsletter at the time: lightening took down a very large tree of mine which, in falling, ripped all electric and cable wires from my house as well as the neighbors' and, in doing so, blocked the street completely, taking out the nearest electricity pole and knocking power out for my entire street. Of course, this happened in the middle of the night.
Anyway, based on the above incident, I decided to make a vat of Sunday sauce on the day Lee was supposed to hit. I figured that it would keep me occupied and the house both warm and smelling reassuring, and that distributing some to my closest neighbors would earn me proactive goodwill should something go wrong again tree or garden debris wise. Lee blew out to sea, but it was grey and blustery enough anyway to make and distribute the sauce anyway. Once I had portioned out the meatballs and sausages and ladled sauce into containers to give out, I was still left with oodles of rich sauce laced with shredded pork. Since the oven was still warm, I cranked it on again and made these beans. They went down a treat plain, but I had fun plating them up as illustrated above, with sour cream, chopped scallions, sage oil, and dust made from crushed Doritos (...!)
8 oz small dried beans ( I used Rancho Gordo's buckeye beans, but navy beans would work well here too)
3 cups Sunday sauce or your favorite tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Silan, pomegranate molasses or 2 tsps of molasses and 1 tsp of maple syrup
Heaping Tbsp of Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
Rehydrate the beans by placing them in a bowl with 1/4 tsp of salt and covering them with boiling water. Set them aside until the water has cooled.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Drain the beans and add them to an oven safe pan.
Add all of the ingredients to the pan along with half a cup of water and stir to combine.
Cover and bake for two hours. Check at the half way mark and add more water if needed. At two hours check the beans and, if not cooked as much as you would like, add more water if needed and cook for an additional half hour before checking again. My beans were small, I like them tender, but with a tiny bit of give, and I wanted an end result that was not soupy -- two hours is what worked for me.
You could serve this with the garnishes mentioned above, but it would also be delicious with some grated cheddar and a splash of hot sauce.