Some classic recipes never go out of style, but just go on being rediscovered by generation after generation of happy cooks and eaters. Baked beans is one of these: a super-nutritious, delicious food that makes us think of home.
The great Helen Nearing, pioneer of the joys of a simple lifestyle, didnít believe you had to bake beans all day for them to be perfect. Here is her couldnít-be-simpler recipe for a stovetop baked bean dish that tastes so good your family will think you slaved over them for hours. Baked beans and wholegrain bread makes a complete-protein meal; with a salad alongside, you have a homey, warming, satisfying supper that conjures up all the hearthside pleasures of fall, and it costs almost nothing to make.
2 cups dried beans, soaked overnight
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Drain soaking water from beans and place them in a heavy pot. Cover them with boiling water and cook until tender, about 2 hours. (Helen used the top of her wood stove!)
2. When beans are tender, saute onions in a saucepan with a little olive oil until golden, then add to beans along with other ingredients and simmer for another hour.
Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Simple Food for the Good Life, by Helen Nearing (Chelsea Green, 1980).