Bean-Hole Baked Beans

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Bean-Hole Baked Beans

Here’s an authentic Maine recipe for baked beans, in which we buried a pot of beans in a “bean-hole” among hot coals, and allowed them to bake in the ground overnight.  This was the first time we’ve ever tried making them, and we were very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, and how good they came out.  Brett’s parents came up from NY State to visit for the weekend, so they had a chance to taste the bean-hole-y goodness, also.

The Bean-Hole

We dug a hole (away from the house and other combustibles) about 2 1/2 feet deep, and about 3 feet across.  We then lined the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the hole with stones.  The size of the hole depends, obviously, on the size of the bean pot you plan to use.  Just make sure there’s enough room for the bean pot to fit comfortably in the hole, along with a good bed of hot coals.  We used a cast iron 5-quart Dutch Oven, which held 2 pounds of beans.

The Bean Recipe

2 pounds of beans (We used Jacob’s Cattle beans for this one.  Soldier, Great Northern, Navy, and Yellow Eye all work real well, also)

1/2 pound of butter, OR 12 oz. of salt pork

3 Tbsp. Minced onion

2 Tbsp. dry mustard

1 1/4 cup molasses

Enough boiling water to cover the beans.

Preparation & Cooking

Soak the beans in water for 8 hours, or overnight.

Build a wood fire in the bean hole, letting it burn until the bottom of the bean hole is covered with a bed of hot coals.  Should take about 2 hours.  (Optional: Add some charcoal briquettes if you’d like to “help it along.”)

Combine the beans with the other ingredients in a large cast-iron pot or Dutch Oven, and add enough boiling water to cover.  (We also covered the top of the pot with foil, to keep any dirt from spilling in during the process.)

When the bottom of the bean hole is sufficiently full of hot coals, shovel some of the coals out of the hole, and reserve in a (metal) wheelbarrow.  Nestle the bean pot in the bean hole among the remaining coals, and pull the coals around the sides.  Dump the reserved coals from the wheelbarrow over the top of the bean pot, then cover with dirt, and allow to cook overnight.

The heated rocks and hot coals will allow the beans to cook slowly in the ground, and covering everything with dirt will help the beans to retain moisture during cooking.

And that’s it!  Next morning, uncover, and take the bean pot out of the hole.

Enjoy!  If you decide to try ’em, we’d love to hear how they came out!

As always, comments and questions are welcome below, or by e-mailing us at stayhomeandeat@gmail.com

*Oven Baking

Prepare the beans as above, and bake in a conventional oven for 6 hours at 350 degrees.  During oven baking, some evaporation may occur, so periodically add enough water to keep beans covered.


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Pan Seared Tuna Steak with Spinach & Lentil Salad

This is another one of those restaurant dishes we’ve always loved, and always wanted to see if we could re-create at home.  Turns out it’s really easy, really tasty, and really pretty good for you, too…

Our tuna steaks ran us 9.99 a pound, which may seem steep, but one pound of fish is PLENTY for this dish, and it serves two with room for leftovers.  But when you consider that at the restaurant, this dish runs $19 a plate, the savings become pretty evident.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb tuna steak

4 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 bag of baby spinach leaves (5 oz bag)

Juice from ½ a lemon

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup lentils, cooked

Salt & pepper, to taste

To prepare lentils, boil for 20 mins, until al dente (firm to the bite).  Set aside.

Add spinach to a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and all but 1 Tbsp of olive oil until thoroughly blended.  Pour over spinach, and gently toss to coat.

Heat a skillet or non-stick frying pan.  Lightly brush both sides of each tuna steak with remaining oil.  Sprinkle sesame seeds over tuna steaks to coat.  Add tuna steaks to hot pan, searing for 90 seconds on each side for rare… (A little longer to get it a little closer to medium).

Remove from heat and let rest on a cutting board.  Add bed of spinach to a plate, and sprinkle lentils over the greens.  Slice tuna steaks and lay over bed of spinach.  Salt and pepper to taste.  (Serves 2-4)

As always, use the video to help you along, and comment below, or e-mail us to let us know how you made out, at stayhomeandeat@yahoo.com

Enjoy!

Brett & Kelly