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What you need to know for 08/21/2017

Grandma revered for great baked beans

Grandma revered for great baked beans

SCCC culinary educational aide Kathleen Neff simmers beans on the stove top and bakes them in an ove
Grandma revered for great baked beans
Kathleen Neff’s family recipe for baked beans starts with two kinds of dried beans, navy and kidney beans.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

“From the SCCC Kitchen” offers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s culinary arts program. Today, educational aide Kathleen Neff simmers beans on the stove top and bakes them in an oven. Baked beans are one of her favorite comfort foods.

Kathleen Neff doesn’t need any help from Grandma Brown when she makes her recipe for baked beans.

The supermarket grandmother and her canned beans can’t compare with Grandma Edna Withman.

“This recipe is from my grandmother,” Neff said of Edna, her maternal ancestor. “Every time she went someplace, she was always getting so many compliments on her beans. I learned how to make them when I was very young.”

Neff uses dry beans, navy and red kidney beans, so her dish has contrast in color. Chicken stock, onions, molasses, mustard and ketchup are also in the mix. So is a healthy helping of brown sugar — baked beans have to have the sweetener.

Bacon is an option, for additional flavor and texture.

“Baked beans can be served with picnic foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken,” Neff said. “I love mine with potato salad. They’re also good with ribs.”

Neff makes her beans on stove top and oven. “They’re so easy to make,” she said. “You just have to be patient because they take awhile.”

Slow cookers can also be used.

“But it takes longer,” Neff said. “Probably twice as long.”

Baked Beans

1 pound dry navy beans

1 pound dry red kidney beans

1 quart chicken stock

1 medium onion, diced

2⁄3 cup molasses

2 1⁄2 cups brown sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

Rinse and soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse in the morning.

Add fresh water to cover beans and add chicken stock and half of the diced onion. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour. Drain the beans and set aside the liquid.

Put the beans and all the liquid (reserve 1 cup) in baking dish.

Mix molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and remaining onion to the beans. Adjust seasonings. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) for about 1 hour or until beans are soft. Add remaining liquid if necessary.

Optional — dice 1⁄4 pound cooked bacon and mix into the beans before baking. Bacon can also be layered on top of beans and baked.

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