pork and beans

March 23rd, 2008 · 18 Comments

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i swear this dish started out as a vegetarian dinner. and it was. twice. until it just couldn’t be anymore. and really, there is so very little meat on this plate. just 2 measly strips of: "MY-VERY-OWN-UNFREAKINREAL-CURED-BACONY-STUFF". i mean, who the hell knew you could do this? next thing you know i’ll be baking my own baguettes… not. but hey, first let’s talk about the beans. which are not just any beans. they are rancho gordo’s scarlet runner beans. and i love them. truly and with feeling. here’s a fact: if you’re buying the beans on the shelf of your supermarket, just know that they can easily be up to 12 years old. and even if you think that those beans are "just fine", it’s only because you’ve never tried rancho gordo’s beans. and when you do, i believe you’ll be a convert, just like me. so there ya go.

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when i looked on RG’s site, they say that they like to make the scarlet runners with wild mushrooms. so i got to thinking… and after a good long soak, i added the beans to a pot of onions that had been caramelizing for about 30 minutes. then i added some reconstituted wild mushrooms – a good mix of porcini, morel, shitake, oyster and portabella, – along with its (strained) soaking water. towards the end of the cooking i added a large amount of chopped mustard greens, fresh thyme and some salt and pepper – and let the dish simmer until i felt the beans were done. for planning purposes, please note that these beans are of the extra large variety and take a long time to cook – 3 hours or so.

so after eating the hell out of this damn fine pot-o-beans, i began to yearn for something more. something well, meaty. so i channeled my inner gabrielle hamilton from the AMAZING – but AMAZING – restaurant ‘prune’ in nyc’s east village, and i wacked a coupla slices off my beautifully cured belly, trimmed the skin off the edges and fried those porky strips right up. and then, because it’s what i do – i poached an egg.

and you think that’s it, right? like what more could i possibly do to improve on this, right? well the next night when i gave cary the last of it for dinner, i added some leftover polenta as the bottom layer. and i set that bowl down before him and said "of all the things i’ve made in quite some time – i am the proudest of this dish". i really think that gabrielle would be just fine offering this on the ‘prune’ menu. no really. i do.

delusional? perhaps.

and the parsley sprig? that’s so totally for you…

Tags: bacon · beans · eggs · pork

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rachel // Mar 23, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Rancho Gordo beans are different & better, I agree 100%!

  • 2 Robert // Mar 24, 2008 at 5:28 am

    “Bacony stuff strips”………..(eyes staring down, head hung).

  • 3 Donald // Mar 24, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Yup! There is nothing more can be said.

    Okay well yeah there is…

    mmmmmmmmm…

  • 4 Lesley // Mar 24, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I had a friend in Memphis who grew her own scarlet runner beans (the foliage and flowers are gorgeous). And I grew hyacinth runner beans myself, but for the fragrant and beautiful flowers only since there remains some controversy regarding the hyacinth bean’s edibility and toxicity.

    The scarlets are also a pretty good soup bean as well as a substitute for the black bean in some Mexican dishes–just to change things up a bit. And, of course, they’re beautiful!

  • 5 Jennifer Hess // Mar 24, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Looks like a bowl of perfection, my dear. Mmmmm!

  • 6 lucy // Mar 24, 2008 at 8:38 am

    while i appreciate the sprig of parsley, i’d much rather have a whole plate of polenta+pork+beans for me to eat. on my doorstep. tonight when i get home from work.
    k thanks. :)

  • 7 Peter // Mar 24, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Inspirational- bacon is next on my list of home-cured experiments.

  • 8 cookiecrumb // Mar 24, 2008 at 10:20 am

    That is SO-O-O how to eat.
    Sigh.

  • 9 Pam // Mar 24, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I’m a convert on the Rancho Gordo beans, too – made chili with them not long ago and it was killer!

  • 10 ntsc // Mar 24, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I’ve done a non-smoked bacon once so far, still have a couple pounds left. The biggest problem was finding the pork belly, curing was simple and this paticular method (Ruhlman/Polcyn) doesn’t require smoking although other varaitions of their’s do.

    I also did a 5 lb pancetta at the same time. Now that it is warm eough the next time the bacon gets smoked.

  • 11 Dan // Mar 24, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    AND the poached goodness. you’re just teggs-meggscillent.

  • 12 joycooks // Mar 24, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    wow, yum. you’ve been really “porking” out lately claudia! in the best sense of the word! It’s just funny bec. I’ve been baking like a mad woman… see? but i need to stick with savory for a while now. and i love love love prune and gabrielle, even tho I’ve never even been there! it’s my kind of place. I neeeeeeed to go.

  • 13 Nicole // Mar 25, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Thanks to the link. I have to say I love your blog, and the beans look amazing.

  • 14 melissa // Mar 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    ohhhhh the belly. that’s awesome claudia. between your and jennifer’s post, I really need to buy those beans.

  • 15 lifeinrecipes // Mar 26, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Love Rancho Gordo. Love bacon. Love Prune. A whole lotta love goin’ on in that bowl.

  • 16 mari // Mar 26, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Girl, you’re rocking out on the pork! I have half a mind to move to Nashville, so I can come over for dinner!

  • 17 Julie // Apr 2, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Awesome. Those beans sound freakin’ awesome.

  • 18 Traci @ Soup of The Day // Apr 5, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I just saw this post – crazy deja vu. Pork, beans and the egg! All in my top 10!

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