Baked Beans, Compromised and Improved
Good for Your Heart!!
Proud of their background as commandos, the Wraiths could be put dirtside for a mission and be counted on to positively enjoy the experience. They were even good at foraging for themselves; short of finding roots and berries to eat, they could always count on buying or stealing something from a local farmer.
Runt Ekwesh and Elassar Targon got to talking about baked beans one night, after eating canned, tomato-ey ration beans, which did nothing but fill them up and give them gas. They were discussing the type of dish where dried beans would be soaked to rid them of oligosaccharides that cause gas, then cooked slowly for a long time in a tasty sauce. Runt swore his mother's version -- easy to make, and like licking candied beans -- was the best in the galaxy. Elassar's family's version was much richer with gornt fat, spices and onions, and it could be eaten as a festival dish in itself.
Each man felt their version was the best, and would lovingly describe each morsel and start denigrating the mother of the other man for their "barbarian" version.
The unit got tired of their once entertaining patter, and Myn Donos one day marched both men out of their bedrolls at the threat of being used for target practice, and into the farms to forage what they needed to make each mother's version of baked beans. The squadron would decide! Two holes were dug into the ground and each man's mixture of beans, gornt bacon and seasonings were lowered into the hot pits to cook all day. The smells drove everyone wild with hunger!
First, Elassar dished up his rich, savory version, and was stunned when everyone pronounced it too spicy and not really what they expeected from baked beans. Runt gloated openly when he served his version, but was equally surprised to hear his comrades complain that it was too sticky, sweet and otherwise bland. Both men, looking forlorn and embarassed, found themselves with large pots of baked beans no one but themselves would eat.
The day was saved when Shalla, noticing they both smelled great, combined them and pronounced the new dish perfect! The cloying sweetness of Runt's maple-syrup-laced concoction offset the firey spices of Elassar's beans, and they complemented each other superbly!
Neither man wanted to taste the mixed mash, but both men had a crush on Shalla and didn't want to hurt her. Politeness and desire broke through stubbornness, and they tried the beans. Elassar and Runt were both astonished to discover they liked it even better than their own recipes. They quickly wrote down the simple formula, combining the common ingredients, simplifying it somewhat to make it easy fixings even in the field, and made it the next night, and the night after that, till Myn was prompted to threaten them at blasterpoint yet again!
Put the quartered onion in the bottom of a Dutch oven or bean pot or covered casserole. Add the beans, and place the pork on top. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, molasses or maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper and 2 cups of water. Pour this sauce over the beans. Cover the pot and bake at 300°F for 6 hours. Check the beans once in a while. If they look too dry, add some more water. If they look too wet toward the last hour of cooking, remove the lid to evaporate the juices.
Makes about 10 lbs. of baked beans.
Variations: If using canned beans, skip the bean soaking and cooking steps. Use about 8 or 9 lbs. of beans, and rinse them well. Cook for a shorter time too, about 3 hours.
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