Salpicón Taco

3 medium plum tomatoes, diced
3 medium radishes, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
2 medium habanero chiles, halved
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound 3/4-inch-cubed cooked skirt steak, flank steak, or pork shoulder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium avocado, diced
8 (6-inch) white corn tortillas, warmed

Stir together tomatoes, radishes, onion, cucumber, and salt in a medium bowl; let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles, orange juice, and lime juice. Stir in meat and cilantro. Gently fold in avocado. Add salt to taste. Serve with corn tortillas.

Grilled Flank Steak Carne Asada

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, cumin and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine steak and remaining cilantro mixture; marinate for at least 4 hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the steak from the marinade.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Using paper towels, pat both sides of the steak dry; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add steak to grill, and cook, flipping once, until desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes.

Thinly slice steak against the grain and serve with reserved 1/2 cup cilantro mixture.

Carne en Su Jugo

1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
8 tomatillos, peeled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 large yellow onion, cut into 4 wedges
1 quart beef broth or water, divided
2 bay leaves
3 cups cooked pinto beans
Finely diced white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, Key lime wedges, cooked bacon, and toasted tortillas, for serving

Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap, and place in freezer 15 minutes. Remove from freezer, unwrap meat, and slice thinly against the grain. Stack slices; finely chop.

Place the meat in a bowl, and season with Worcestershire, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, soy sauce, and black pepper. Stir until well coated, and set aside.

Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium. Once the oil is shimmering, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add seasoned meat, and cook until it releases some of its juices, about 10 minutes. (It’s OK to crowd the pan—you want to encourage the meat to stew and release its juices.) Reduce heat to low to keep the liquid from reducing too much. Using a slotted spoon, remove and reserve 2 tablespoons cooked meat.

While the meat cooks, place tomatillos in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, about 3 1/2 cups. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Cook until tomatillos are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; drain.

Place quartered onion half, cooked tomatillos, and reserved 2 tablespoons meat in a blender with 1 cup broth; blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add mixture to meat in pot; add remaining 3 cups broth and bay leaves. Season with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer about 20 minutes. Add cooked beans, and cook until the meat is tender, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, place about 1 cup or more of the meat-and-bean mixture into each bowl. Add broth as desired, and garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, Key lime wedges, and bacon. Serve with toasted tortillas.

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken

2 – 2.5 lbs skin on chicken thighs deboned

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1 jalapeño chopped finely
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder or more to taste
5 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
Lime wedges for serving

Leave the skin on the chicken thighs but remove the bones by cutting two slits along the sides of the bone. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a big bowl, whisk all the Marinade ingredients until well combined. Save some of the Marinade for basting. Add chicken to the Marinade, make sure to stir and coat the chicken evenly. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Fire up the grill, brush a little bit of the Marinade plus the garlic, cilantro and jalapeno on top of the chicken and grill them until they turn golden brown and charred on both sides. Serve immediately with some fresh lime wedges.

Recipe Notes
You may cook the chicken in an oven at 400F for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown and charred. You may also cook the chicken on stovetop using a regular skillet or cast-iron grilled pan.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

1 1/2 s lb skin-on deboned chicken thighs
Lime wedges for garnishing
Chopped cilantro for garnishing

Marinade:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems and leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 heaping teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste

Preheat oven to 375F.

Whisk all the Marinade ingredients together in a big bowl, mix well. Add the chicken into the Marinade, stir to coat well. Marinate for 15 minutes but best for 2 hours.

Heat up a skillet and pan-fry the chicken with the skin-side down until slightly browned. Turn over and pan-fry the other side of the chicken until slightly browned.

Transfer the skillet into oven and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken and the Marinade residual (after baking) to a serving platter (discard the oil), squirt some fresh lime juice and garnish with cilantro, serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
Make sure you use an oven-safe skillet or pan before baking the chicken in the oven. You may also grill the chicken. For the chicken, you can use boneless and skinless chicken breast/chicken thighs or bone-in chicken thighs.

Chili Lime Chicken

2 – 2.5 lbs skin on chicken thighs or breasts

Marinade:
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons fresh lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped finely
2 jalapeño chopped finely
4 garlic cloves chopped finely
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder or to taste

Rinse the chicken thighs, remove the bones, leave the skin on, and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

Get a big bowl, mixing all the ingredients of the Marinade together using a whisk. Make sure the Marinade is well combined together.

Add chicken to the Marinade, make sure to stir and coat the chicken evenly. Marinate for 2 hours.

Fire up the grill, brush a little bit of oil on the surface. Add a little bit of the garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno from the Marinade on top of the chicken and grill them until they turn golden brown and charred on both sides. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
You can make this chili lime chicken with a cast-iron grill pan or regular skillet, or bake in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake it for about 20-25 minutes or until the skin becomes brown and charred. You can also use skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breasts.

Margaritas

Kosher salt (for serving)
1/2 thick lime wheel (for serving)
2 oz. tequila blanco
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup

Place some salt on a small plate. Rub rim of an old-fashioned or rocks glass with lime (reserve for serving); dip in salt. Fill with ice and set aside.

Combine tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.

Strain cocktail through a Hawthorne strainer or a slotted spoon into reserved glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

From Bon Appetit

Macaroni and Cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
8 ounces cavatappi or other short curly pasta
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Gruyère, grated (about 1 cup)
4 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon English mustard powder (such as Colman’s)
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden brown, 6–8 minutes (make sure to get them toasty brown; they won’t darken much during baking). Transfer to a small bowl and toss with Parmesan, thyme leaves, and ¼ tsp. salt.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (the noodles will continue to cook in the cheese sauce, so take them out a minute or two before you think they’re actually done). Drain pasta; let cool while you make the sauce.

Bring milk to a bare simmer in a small saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to stick to bottom of saucepan, about 1 minute. Add warm milk in a few additions, whisking to combine after each addition.

Bring béchamel sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and doesn’t feel grainy when a little bit is rubbed between your fingers, 6–8 minutes (cooking the flour thoroughly at this stage ensures a creamy sauce). Add Fontina, Gruyère, cheddar, mustard powder, cayenne, and ¾ tsp. salt and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and mix in pasta; transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish.

Bake 10 minutes. Top with Parmesan breadcrumbs and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges, 8–10 minutes longer. Let cool in pan 15 minutes before serving.

From Bon Appetit.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 bunch spinach, thick stems trimmed
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 10-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Crackers, chips, or toasted baguette (for serving)

Preheat oven to 400°. Cook spinach in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain spinach, squeezing out excess liquid, then transfer to a clean kitchen towel and use the towel to wring out as much liquid as possible. Be thorough and use some muscle; water from the spinach will make the dip thin and runny (not what you want). Transfer spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until pan begins to look dry, about 2 minutes; season spinach with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Pulse cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a food processor, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until combined and smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and fold in artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and spinach mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Scrape mixture into a 1-qt. baking dish and bake until golden brown on top, 20–25 minutes. Let dip cool slightly. Serve with crackers, chips, toast, or—dare we say it?—a vegetable.

From Bon Appetit

Pomegranate Jalapeno Glazed Ham

One 7-pound, bone-in, spiral-cut smoked ham
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
20 whole cloves
One 10-ounce jar jalapeño jelly (1 cup)
1 cup sweetened pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the ham in a large roasting pan and add the chicken stock. Stud the ham all over with the cloves.

In a medium saucepan, bring the jalapeño jelly, pomegranate juice and lemon juice to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, cinnamon and ginger and simmer until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.

Drizzle half of the glaze over the ham and cover with foil. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, basting frequently, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 125°. Remove the foil and brush the ham with any remaining glaze. Roast for 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly caramelized. Transfer to a platter. Discard the cloves. Pour the pan juices into a bowl and serve with the ham.

Stewed Black-Eyed Peas

2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, peeled and halved through the root end (keep the root attached)
4 whole cloves
1 garlic head, cut in half
10 black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
1 chile de árbol or other small dried chile
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

Put the peas in a large bowl, add water to cover by 2 inches, and soak overnight.

Blacken the onion: If you have a gas stove, turn one burner on high and place the onion halves directly on the grates next to the flame and cook, turning occasionally, until the onion is charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Otherwise, heat the broiler and broil the onion on a baking sheet a few inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When the onion is cool enough to handle, poke 2 cloves into each half, and add the onion to a large stockpot. Drain the peas, discarding the liquid, and then transfer the peas to the pot.

Place the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chile on a 12-inch square of cheesecloth and wrap tightly, using twine to seal the packet.

Add 6 quarts water and the spice packet to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim any foam that collects on the surface, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring and skimming occasionally, until the peas are fully cooked and the cooking liquid has thickened, 1 to 2 hours.

Discard the spice packet, season with the remaining 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste) and the hot sauce and serve.

Baked Pasta with Cheddar and Spiced Onions

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne, plus more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
3 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 pound small pasta, such as rotini or shells
3/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro (or use a combination of cilantro and parsley), plus more for serving
8 ounces shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned in spots, 12 to 20 minutes. (Reduce heat if the pan starts to scorch.) Lower heat to medium, and stir in coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 more minute. Transfer half the onions to a bowl and reserve (leave the bay leaf in the skillet).

Add garlic, cumin seeds, pepper and allspice to the skillet, and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Use your hands or kitchen scissors to squish or cut the tomatoes into pieces and add to pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water, and pour into the skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and cayenne if you like. Remove bay leaf.

As mixture cooks, heat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just about 2 minutes shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain pasta.

Stir pasta, reserved pasta water, and parsley into skillet with tomato sauce. Top with reserved browned onions, Cheddar and Parmesan. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. If you like, you can run the pan under the broil to brown the top, or leave it as is. Let cool slightly, top with more parsley, if desired, and serve with hot sauce, if you like.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE:
1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated

FOR THE TOPPING (OPTIONAL):
1 cup coarse bread crumbs or panko
4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s barely al dente. (It should be more al dente than your average pasta: It’s going to continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium pot over medium heat. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is foamy and just starting to turn a light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk to avoid clumping. Add garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and paying special attention to the edges of the pot to make sure the flour mixture is totally incorporated.

Add grated cheese and whisk to blend until the cheese is completely melted. (The sauce will seem thick at first and thin out as the cheese melts; it will thicken while it bakes.) Season with salt and pepper and add cooked pasta, stirring to coat well.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (to catch any cheesy drips).

Make the optional topping: Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and Parmesan, if using, in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, mix well to ensure the bread crumbs are evenly coated.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a 3-quart or 9 x 13 baking dish and scatter bread crumbs, if using, evenly over the top. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is bubbling, thickened and creamy, and bread crumbs are evenly golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar, grated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until just barely al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, bring milk up to a simmer in a large pot. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and whisk until it’s completely blended and no lumps remain. Add Cheddar cheese and butter, whisking until everything is completely melted. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened and is coating each piece of pasta nicely, 2 to 3 minutes; sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Season again with more salt and pepper before serving.

Ham and Cheese Scones

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced ham, bacob, or pancetta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into an 8? circle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges.

Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Basic Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk

Mix it all together until smooth. Pour into a black iron skillet that has been greased with butter or bacon fat. Bake in a 425-degree oven until top is brown and firm.

A little more elaborate (from Simply Recipes):

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 cups cornmeal OR 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 large egg (optional)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat pan with bacon drippings: Put the bacon drippings in a 9 or 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put the skillet into the oven. Then preheat the oven to 400°F with the skillet inside. (If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can use an uncovered Dutch oven or a metal cake pan.)

Make the batter: Whisk together all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, baking soda, salt, sugar if using) in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg (if using) and buttermilk until combined, then mix that into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter.

Pour batter into hot skillet and bake: When the oven is hot, take out the skillet (carefully, as the handle will be hot!). Add the cornbread batter and make sure it is evenly distributed in the skillet.

Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

4 Rest bread in skillet, then serve: Let the bread rest for 10 to 30 minutes in the skillet before cutting it into wedges and serving.

To store, let the cornbread cool, then remove from pan and wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temp for 2 to 3 days

Carne en su Jugo

6 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
1 POUND LEAN BEEF such as sirloin tip or top round, cut against the grain into ¼-inch-thick slices and chopped (see note)
4 CUPS BEEF BROTH
2 CHIPOTLE CHILES IN ADOBO
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
2 CUPS DRAINED, COOKED FLOR DE MAYO BEANS
CILANTRO LEAVES for serving
LIME WEDGES for serving
FINELY CHOPPED GREEN ONIONS, white and pale green parts, for serving

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until all the fat is rendered and the bacon is brown but not crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel–lined plate.

Add the beef to the skillet and sauté until brown, turning often with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot.

In a blender, combine 1 cup of the beef broth and the chiles in adobo and blend until smooth. Add to the beef and pour in the remaining beef broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender and the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the beans. Ladle them into warmed bowls. Ladle the meat with its broth over the beans.

Top with the bacon and cilantro leaves.

Pass the lime wedges and green onions at the table.

Note: It is easier to slice the meat thinly if you freeze it for about 20 minutes. Substitution Note: Any creamy pintolike bean is great here. Try Anasazi, flor de junio, or Rio Zape.

Lima Beans (Baby or Christmas) with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS or CHRISTMAS LIMAS, soaked
4 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
2 1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONIONS
2 CELERY STALKS, diced
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
SALT
3/4 TEASPOON CHOPPED FRESH THYME LEAVES FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve.

Chop half of an onion and add to the pan over medium heat. Add the celery and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add to the beans, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the beans are nearly soft, season them with salt.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining 2 whole onions in half, then cut into thin slices. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, pour in 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, and set over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions wilt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown, soft, and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add 2 tablespoons water and stir to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the bacon to the caramelized onions and heat gently.

Top each serving of beans with some of the caramelized onion–bacon mixture.

Jacob’s Cattle Beans with Pancetta and Sage

1/2 POUND JACOB’S CATTLE BEANS, soaked (page 21)
3 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, plus more for drizzling
1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION, chopped
1 MEDIUM CARROT, peeled and chopped
2 CELERY STALKS, chopped
3 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
1/4 POUND PANCETTA, diced
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH SAGE
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE for garnishing

Put the beans and their soaking water in a soup pot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until beans just begin to soften, about 30 minutes.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, warm the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pancetta, 1 tablespoon of the sage, and a little salt and pepper, and sauté very slowly to draw out the flavor of the aromatics and pancetta, about 20 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables and pancetta to brown.

Add the vegetables and pancetta to the beans, season with salt, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Check the water level often and add more water if needed. This dish is best when the beans are a little soupy.

During the final 5 minutes of cooking, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sage and adjust the seasonings.

Serve the beans in warmed shallow bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Substitution Note: Cranberry beans will also work nicely in this simple recipe, or try Good Mother Stallard beans.

Boston Baked Beans

1 POUND EUROPEAN SOLDIER, WHITE NAVY, or YELLOW EYE BEANS, soaked (page 21)
2 TEASPOONS DRY MUSTARD
1 TABLESPOON TOMATO PASTE
1 TEASPOON SALT
1/3CUP DARK MOLASSES
1/4 CUP LIGHTLY PACKED BROWN SUGAR
2 TABLESPOONS MAPLE SYRUP
1/2 POUND SALT PORK, rinsed, dried, and scored in several places with a sharp knife (optional)
1/2 LARGE YELLOW ONION, thinly sliced
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Drain the beans, reserving the broth. If necessary add enough water to the broth to measure 2 cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, mustard, tomato paste, salt, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

Put half of the beans in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid. Top with the salt pork (if using) and half of the sliced onion. Add the remaining beans and top with the remaining onion.

Pour the broth mixture over the beans, cover, and bake until the beans are soft, the pork is meltingly tender, and the sauce is thick and clings to the beans, 5 to 7 hours. Stop and check occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the beans, and add water if necessary, but not too much. Season to taste with salt and pepper.