Gigante Beans in Creamy Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
28-ounce can whole peeled Roma tomatoes, with tomatoes roughly chopped, liquid reserved
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 4 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil

Serves 2 to 4

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the garlic, onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the stock and wine. Add the cream and gently cook another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Divide the beans among bowls and top with the sauce. Sprinkle parsley over the top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Yellow Indian Woman Bean Bowl with Pickled Shallots and Goat Cheese

For this meal, the Yellow Indian Woman beans met with the shallots and a few crumbles of goat cheese. As the whole mess settles and melts you get what is almost a sauce and the beans have never been happier.

Thinly sliced shallots
Sea salt
Rancho Gordo Banana Vinegar or Pineapple Vinegar
Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
Yellow Indian Woman beans, cooked in the Rancho Gordo Manner
Crumbled goat cheese

To make the pickled shallots: Place sliced shallots in a bowl and add enough vinegar to cover completely. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of Oregano Indio (crush with your hand). Let rest about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scoop warm beans and broth into a bowl and top with a spoonful of pickled shallots and a crumble of goat cheese.

Bean and Vegetable Posole

1 cup dried Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 cup dried heirlooms beans such as Pinto, Eye of the Goat, Lila, or Moro
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp. New Mexican Red Chile Powder
1½ tsp whole cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
1 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 small calabacitas (small squash) or zucchini, sliced ¼” thick
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans
1 T. vegetable bouillon
2 T. chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

Rinse and soak posole and beans, in separate bowls, for about 6 hours.

Drain posole and discard water. Add posole to a pot, fill pot with fresh water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.

Meanwhile, pour beans and their soaking liquid into another pot and add more water if needed to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until tender, adding water as necessary (timing will vary depending on type of bean).

In 4 qt. pan, saute onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin seed and oregano in 1 T. oil for 7 minutes until onion is soft.

Add squash and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooked beans and cooking liquid, posole, green beans and bouillon. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water if stew is too thick.

Add cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas.

Summer Posole

1 pound dried Rancho Gordo White Corn Posole (prepared hominy)
1 large white onion, finely diced?
3 cloves garlic, minced?
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano?
6 large New Mexico green chiles (or poblanos)?
1 bunch scallion, finely chopped?
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped?
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground?
1 pinch sea salt?
1/4 cup olive oil?
1 whole avocado, diced into chunks?
4 whole corn tortillas, slivered?
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced?
1 lime, quartered

Put the posole in a large soup pot with onion, garlic, oregano and a gallon of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender. This can take as long as 3 hours, so check pot occasionally and add water as it boils away. The posole will swell considerably, and the kernels will split open.

While the posole is cooking, roast the chiles, then place them in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam for 15 minutes. Slip off the skins, pull out the seeds and chop. Add the chopped chiles to the simmering posole along with 4 teaspoons salt. Continue cooking until the posole is completely tender. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the salsa, combine the scallions, cilantro, chiles, cumin and salt in a bowl. Stir in the oil, add water as needed to thin, and add avocado. Toast the tortilla strips in the oven until crisp, or fry them in vegetable oil.

To serve, stir the salsa into the posole and garnish with a nest of cabbage and tortilla strips and a wedge of lime. Accompany with warm tortillas.

Posole Verde

Serves 6

1/2 pound Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 1/2 onions, white or red, peeled and halved
Salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled
15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed
2 poblano chiles
1 serrano chile
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano
1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper

Soak posole overnight in water to cover generously. Drain.
Place it in a saucepan with fresh water to cover generously.

Add 1/2 onion, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer until the corn kernels are tender, 2 to 3 hours; many will split open. Season with salt and cool in the liquid.

On a hot, dry griddle or skillet, roast the remaining halved onions, garlic, tomatillos and chiles, turning occasionally, until they are charred and slightly softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

Put the roasted poblano chiles in a paper bag to steam until cool.

Transfer the other vegetables to a bowl and let cool, collecting their juices.

Skin the poblanos, discarding seeds and stems. Discard the serrano chile stem but don’t skin or seed.

Put all the roasted vegetables in a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over moderate heat.
Add the vegetable puree and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

In the blender, puree the cilantro, oregano and 1 cup of the broth. Add to the vegetable mixture along with 4 cups additional broth.

Drain the posole and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Thin with additional broth if necessary. Serve in warm bowls.

Gigante Bean Bowl

1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup chopped leeks
8 stalks of celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 lb. cooked white beans (Such as giant corona)
7 cups of water
2-3+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste

1 cup basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil

to serve: cilantro or radish flowers (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat place the olive oil, red onion, leeks, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, and cook until the leeks begin to take on a hint of color.

At this point stir in the celery, caraway, and chiles, then saute, stirring regularly, until everything begins to caramelize and take on color.

Stir in the tomatoes, followed by the beans, and then the water. There should be more than enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a simmer for at least ten minutes, although I like to simmer it longer if I have the time. Stir in the salt, and adjust if needed.

While the soup is simmering use a mortar and pestle (or chop by hand) to smash the basil and salt into a paste – the smoother the better. Add the Parmesan and olive oil, a bit at a time, and work into a green drizzle.

Serve each bowl of soup topped with a generous drizzle of the pistou. And a bit of cilantro or edible flowers to finish.

Serves 6.

Borlotti Bean Bowl

1 pound cranberry beans (like Borlotti)
8 cups of water
15 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and trimmed

2 big shallots or white onion, sliced on the axis into thin crescents

2-3 dried smoked serranos, dried chipotles or other dried chilies or even one or two chipotles from the can (in adobo sauce)

2 teaspoons+ fine sea salt for seasoning

a drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil

a small handful of cilantro, chopped

a couple (optional) handfuls of a salty hard cheese, Parmesan, grated

Soak your beans overnight. Before soaking give them a good rinse. Look carefully for any pebbles or dirt clumps. Cover with a few extra inches of water, the Borlottis take in a lot of liquid. When you are ready to use the beans, drain them, rinse again, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350. Place the racks near the bottom of the oven.

Put the beans, water, garlic, shallots, and chiles in an oven-proof pot or casserole – preferably one with an oven-proof lid.

Place the pot on a rimmed baking sheet (in case of accidental overflow), and place in the oven for two hours, or until beans are nice and tender. After the first hour check every twenty minutes or so.

When the beans are done, pull the pot out of the oven and season generously with salt. Stir and taste. Season so the broth tastes just right, the beans need some time to take in the saltier broth at this point, so once you have the broth seasoned nicely, just let the soup sit there on the top of the stove, covered for another ten minutes or so. Taste and adjust for seasoning one more time and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

To serve, first ladle a generous scoop of beans into each bowl, and follow with the broth to cover. Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Creamy Cornbread

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in oven for 5 min.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

Stir in ONE cup of the milk and the buttermilk.

Add the eggs and blend thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the hot skillet and carefully pour the remaining one cup of milk into the batter. Don’t worry that it looks too runny. Do not stir! The milk will sink and form a custard-like layer.

Place in preheated oven and bake 30-35 min. Serve while hot.

Sheet Pan Stuffing with Chestnuts and Cranberries

6 tablespoons(3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 ribs celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
7 ounces vacuum-packed shelled, roasted chestnuts, cut or broken into chunks
8 ounces challah bread (half a store-bought loaf), cut into 1-inch cubes and air-dried (see headnote)
One 8-inch square corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and dried (see not)
2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled between your fingers
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large Bartlett pear, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (not peeled)
1-2cupdried cranberries, some coarsely chopped
1-2cuppacked chopped curly parsley
1 3/4 cupsvegetable broth, preferably no-salt-added, or more as needed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Position racks in the upper and lower parts of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Have one or two rimmed baking sheets at hand.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, stir in the celery and chestnuts. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the dried cubes of challah and corn bread. Season with the sage, herbes de Provence, paprika and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, tossing to coat evenly. The mixture should be fragrant.

Transfer to a bowl; add the pear, dried cranberries, parsley and broth, stirring to coat evenly. Add more broth if the mixture seems quite dry. For a moister stuffing, mound all the mixture on a single pan, gently pressing it together. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, portioned or cut into small pieces. For a drier stuffing, divide the mixture between two baking sheets, and then dot with the remaining butter.

Roast (upper rack for single pan; upper and lower racks for 2 pans) for about 25 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. If you are using two baking sheets, you may want to rotate the from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.

Transfer to a serving bowl; serve warm, drizzled with some oil.

MAKE AHEAD: Dry out the cubes of challah and corn bread by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and leaving them to air-dry for a day or so, or bake in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and let them cool in there.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)
1/3 cup honey, or to taste
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Place cranberries and honey in a food processor. Pulse until chopped (but not too finely), then taste and stir in more honey if needed. At this point, the relish can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving. If the liquid separates, give it a stir.

Stir pistachios and pomegranate seeds into cranberry mixture and serve.

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Brown Sugar

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork (10 to 12 sweet potatoes)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon or orange juice
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Large pinch of ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let rest until cool enough to handle but still warm, then remove the foil and peel off the skins.

Add sweet potatoes to a food processor, along with butter, brown sugar, bourbon or juice, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Purée until smooth. (Or, for a chunkier texture, mash them by hand.) Taste and add salt, sugar or both if you like. Serve while still warm or reheat before serving.

Tip
This recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat just before serving, either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over low heat.

Duck Fat Potatoes

3 pounds baby or small potatoes, halved if large
1/4 cup duck (or chicken) fat, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the potatoes, duck fat, salt and pepper. Lay thyme sprigs and bay leaves on top.

Roast for 30 minutes, then toss the garlic into the potatoes and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until potatoes are fork-tender, another 15 to 25 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaves and serve, or let cool for up to an hour then reheat, uncovered, at 350 degrees just before serving.

Brioche Chestnut Stuffing

1 (14- to 16-ounce) brioche loaf, torn into 1-inch pieces
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
1 large onion, diced
2 large celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced fennel (about 1/2 small fennel bulb)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
5 ounces roasted, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Arrange brioche pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let them dry out overnight, or place them in a 200-degree oven for an hour or two. (They’ll be ready when they feel stale to the touch but haven’t taken on any color.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a shallow, 2-quart casserole or gratin dish.

On a pot on the stove or in the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons butter.

Put bread in the prepared baking dish and toss with melted butter. Bake until golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Let cool, then transfer toast to a large bowl. (Don’t wash the baking dish; you’ll use it again for the stuffing.)

In a 12-inch skillet, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, fennel and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until soft and just starting to brown, about 12 minutes.

Stir in thyme and sage, and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl with brioche. Gently fold in chestnuts and pepper and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups stock, eggs, parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Fold gently into bread mixture, then scrape it all back into prepared baking dish.

Drizzle on remaining 1 cup stock until the mixture is moist but not squishy; you may not need all the stock.

Cover dish with foil and bake until lightly springy, about 25 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, another 20 to 30 minutes.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
4 large eggs
1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk or buttermilk to equal 1 1/2 cups
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus bit more for top before baking
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar

Place diced jalapenos in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack.

Preheat oven to 400and leave skillet with jalapenos in oven as it preheats. in pre-heating oven. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs in a medium to blend. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. ?Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon, just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in the cooled jalapenos. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.

Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray.

Spoon batter in to hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese.

Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller).

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Colicchio’s Dinner Rolls

Dough:
3/4 cup warm milk about 110F
1 tsp instant or dry active yeast
1 tsp Barley malt or 2/3 tsp molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp coarse Kosher salt, or 1 tsp fine table salt *reduce if using salted butter
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter softened

Topping:
Melted butter for brushing
Finishing Salt such as Fleur de Sel or Maldon’s

Stir together milk, yeast, and malt syrup in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to milk mixture along with softened butter and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with mixer until a dough forms. Knead 5-6 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, to produce a smooth, moist dough.

Remove to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 – 3 hours. *Trust your eyes here and not the clock. You will want to let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, however long that takes. I find it helpful to rise in an 8-cup glass measuring cup, so it’s easy to see when it has doubled.

Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled again, about 2 hours (or until doubled in size).

Meanwhile, melt a bit of butter and brush on a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Remove dough to a floured surface and divide into 8-10 equal sized pieces. Form pieces into balls and place into the buttered 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (4 or 5 rows of two rolls, spaced evenly in the pan).

Cover pan with a clean tea towel and let rise until puffy and about doubled, about 2 hours more.

Preheat oven to 350F. When rolls are risen, brush with melted butter and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from oven. Let stand a minute, then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle tops with finishing salt.

Remove from pan and serve warm.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz dry macaroni (1 2/3 cups measured in a 2 cup glass liquid measure. Note that this measure will only work for macaroni and probably not a larger pasta shape. Weighing is recommended.)

Cheese Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
7 oz Good aged white crumbly cheddar crumbled
3 oz Another variety orange sharp cheddar or cold-packed cheddar grated or crumbled
1/2 tsp kosher salt little less if using table salt
1/4 tsp regular chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Topping:
1/2 oz aged cheddar grated
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

Add water and a bit of salt to a large pot and place over high heat for the pasta. While it’s heating, prepare the cheese sauce.

For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk and cook for about 2 minutes.

Very slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. (Don’t rush this step. The mixture will not be thick, but will noticeably thicken after 8-10 minutes of cooking).

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t melted completely after about 3 minutes, you can put the pan back on low heat and stir until it is melted). Set aside for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) with rack in the centre of the oven. Oil or butter an 8-inch square baking dish, an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or individual baking dishes.

When the pasta water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate. (The noodles will finish cooking in the sauce in the oven). When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately rinse well with cold water. Make sure your pasta is well drained.

Add the cooked pasta and to the cheese sauce and mix gently, but thoroughly. (It might look like too much sauce or too little pasta, but trust me, it will all be good in the end).

Spoon or ladle the mixture into a prepared baking dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle the top of each with a bit of additional grated sharp cheddar cheese (you don’t need a lot here, as there is plenty in the sauce), then sprinkle with the chipotle chili powder.

Bake in the preheated 350F (175C) oven uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce has bubbled up around the edges and the top has a nice golden crust. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Maple-Cider Vinegar Roasted Carrots

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound medium carrots with green tops, scrubbed well, 2 tablespoons of the greens chopped and reserved for garnish
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a large heatproof skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook until browned all over, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar and maple syrup. Shake the skillet to coat the carrots.

Transfer to the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, until ?the carrots are just tender but still crisp in the center.

Transfer to a platter, top with the cashews and carrot greens and serve.

Roasted Kabocha with Maple Syrup and Ginger

3 pounds kabocha squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
6 thyme sprigs, plus thyme leaves for garnish
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash wedges with the maple syrup, olive oil, ginger, thyme sprigs and salt. Arrange the squash in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for 15 minutes longer, until golden and tender. Discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the squash to a serving platter and garnish with thyme leaves.

The squash can be made up to 6 hours ahead.

Baked Beans with Maple-Glazed Bacon

3 1/2 cups dried yellow eye or cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 2 hours and drained
Kosher salt
9 thick slices of bacon (10 ounces), 1 slice cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

In a large pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 hours; add water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches. Season the beans with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid. Transfer the beans to a large, deep baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook the bacon strips over moderate heat until the fat has rendered, 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, crushed red pepper, black pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt and simmer for 1 minute, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the bacon-onion mixture over the beans and stir in the reserved bean cooking liquid. Cover the beans with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the maple syrup with the red wine vinegar and mustard. Arrange the remaining 8 bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and generously brush them with the maple syrup mixture. Bake the bacon in the same oven as the beans for about 15 minutes, basting 3 times and turning the bacon twice, until richly glazed. Transfer the bacon to a plate.

Carefully pour 1/3 cup of water onto the baking sheet and return it to the oven for about 3 minutes to dissolve the caramelized syrup. Uncover the beans and carefully stir in the syrup. Bake the beans, uncovered, for about 20 minutes longer, until the liquid has reduced by about one-fourth.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Top the beans with the glazed bacon and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead

The beans can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat, covered, in a 350° oven before proceeding.

Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes (3 pounds), peeled and sliced 1-1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, cover the sweet potato slices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the sweet potatoes in a large gratin dish. Season with the salt and pepper, then dot with the butter pieces. Drizzle the maple syrup over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the water and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes over and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until they’re tender and lightly browned. If necessary, broil the sweet potatoes for a minute or two before serving.