Friday, April 8, 2011

Baked beet and black beans with pork

Baked beet and black beans with pork is slow food made in the old-fashioned way. A ceramic bean pot or dutch oven is required for slow baking in a hot oven. The combination of flavours creates a subtle undertone of sweetness that urges your diners to ask for second helpings. Mmmm-mmmm, it will be delicious with your smoked Easter ham.

Baked beet and black beans with pork

Baked beet and black beans with pork is a meal in itself, full of the health benefits of beets and beans, including an abundance of protein, dietary fibre, calcium, and other minerals.

Set oven to 460℉  (240℃)
Cooking time: approximately 4 hours
                                                    
                                                            Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup dried black beans
2-3 cups water for soaking

6 dried shiitakes
1 cup water for soaking

1 medium beet root, 5 cm. (2.5 in.) in diameter
1 cup diced red onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup lean ground pork
1½ cup diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 tablespoon old-fashioned prepared mustard
2 tablespoons raw molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
3-4 grinds of black pepper corns

Dried black beans

Pre-preparation:
1. Wash black beans.  Drain and discard the water. Place beans in a lidded container. Cover beans with 2 - 3 cups water. Cover with lid and leave to soak overnight. 

2. Place shiitakes in a lidded container. Cover with warm water and leave to soak overnight. 

Clockwise: shiitake, diced tomatoes in tomato juice
soaked black beans, and red onion
Preparation:

3. When assembling ingredients, drain the shiitake liquid into a separate container and reserve for later use in cooking. Slice the stems off the shiitakes and store them in the freezer for another time when making stock. Thinly slice the shiitake. place them into the bean pot.

4. Slice and dice red onion, and mince the garlic cloves. Add to the bean pot.

5. Drain water from soaking black beans into a separate container and reserve for later use in cooking. Add beans to the bean pot.

Grated raw beet


6. Wash, thinly peel, and coarsely grate the beet.  Add to bean pot.

7. Measure lean ground pork. Loosen the mince and mix the pork into the ingredients in the bean pot.

8. Add tomatoes, mustard, molasses, apple cider vinegar, pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Mix into ingredients in the bean pot.

9. Add strained liquid reserved from soaking shiitake. If ingredients are not covered with liquid, add strained liquid reserved from soaking black beans but only sufficient to just cover the ingredients.

10. Place in oven at 460℉ ( 240℃) for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 425℉  (220℃) and bake for 3 - 4 hours. 

Test the beans for done-ness after 60 minutes. To test, remove one bean from the pot and squish it with an ordinary table fork. If completely soft, the beans are cooked as is everything else in the bean pot, so remove the pot from the oven. Most likely, the baked beet and beans will require at least another hour or two of baking at 425℉. This depends upon a number of factors, including the elevation above sea level where you live; even more than 4 hours of baking time could be required. In any case, bake covered until the beans are soft. Keep the contents covered with liquid by adding strained liquid from soaking the black beans, or use plain hot water.

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