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Slow And Quiet New Year’s Plans - Pork and Beans With Cornbread

It’s been some year, hasn’t it? Well, fear not - Sauron has been defeated and all signs point to a luckier, happier 2024. So as not to tempt fate, I’ve made a relatively traditional New year’s supper. Pork, beans and golden cornbread are all considered lucky, so in an abundance of caution, I made all three!


INGREDIENTS

Pork & Beans

2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Essence

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

6 cups beef stock

2 14 ounce cans pinto beans

1 1/2 cups chopped, seeded tomatoes and their juices

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 bunch scallions


METHOD

Season the pork pieces with salt and pepper on all sides.

If your slow cooker can saute, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork, in batches if necessary, and cook until just browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside. Use a fry pan if your slow cooker cannot saute.

Add the onions and saute until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and beans and stir well, scraping up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Put the meat and everything else but the scallions into the crock pat.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig, and serve.


INGREDIENTS

Cornbread

1/2 cup salted butter melted (or bacon drippings)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal (or polenta)

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons baking powder (optional: yields a fluffier cornbread)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk. Shake before measuring*

2 large eggs


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 400 and position a rack in the middle.

In a large cast iron skillet,  melt 1/2 cup of butter in the oven until melted, turn heat off then allow the butter to cool slightly before adding to the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and eggs. Mix together well to combine, then add in the slightly cooled melted butter. Mix again until ‘just’ combined (don’t over mix).

Carefully remove your ‘hot’ pan or dish from the oven with oven mitts, and pour the batter into the hot skillet or dish. Listen to that sizzle! That’s what you want.

Bake until the cornbread begins to brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 20-23 minutes). Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own! Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (or fresh squeezed lemon juice) to 1 cup of room temperature milk (full cream, 2% or skim can be used). Mix together and let sit for 5 minutes.

Prepare your ‘buttermilk’ as step one of this recipe to ensure it has soured enough before adding to your mixture.

I forgot to mention one other lucky New Year’s consumable - champagne.

Grab yourself a nice brut champagne and ensure a lucky 2024.



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