Back in the day in New England; baked beans were a BIG deal – if I can judge by the bean pot and the prevalence, when I would visit as a kid, of the, to me, mysterious and somewhat exotic, brown bread that got pushed out of a can and apparently HAD to be served with baked beans every week; and I can recall reading of some towns where all the womenfolk would bring their individual crock of beans to the town baker who would place them all in his oven to do the deed.
I was raised with baked beans from a can – but my mom, good Virginian tho’ she was, learned a few tricks from her Northern in-laws – we never, that I can recall, had beans just poured out o’ the can and warmed up – we had to add some mustard powder and some brown sugar, and/or maybe some nice maple syrup.
I was thinking about that when I saw a deal at the market I could not refuse on a rather large can of Campbell’s Pork and Beans. I figured a dash o’ Colman’s, some additional seasoning and a bit of the maple goodness would make for a fine emergency meal with some hot dogs I’d found stashed in the back of the freezer.
Well, that didn’t happen.
Instead – I marinated some chicken leg quarters in spiced buttermilk and then roasted them on a rack in the oven at 350º for about an hour.
Thirty minutes into the roasting, I emptied my trusty (and CHEAP) can o’ beans into a baking dish, and stirred in a teaspoon of Colman’s Mustard along with about 1/4 pint of bacon jam leftover from the holidays. I put the covered baking dish into the oven along side the chicken for thirty minutes, then removed both the chicken (which should be nicely browned at this point) and the beans.
Set the chicken aside to rest and return the beans, uncovered, to the oven for fifteen minutes or so.
Brush the chicken well with barbecue sauce and return it to the oven to caramelize a bit while the beans are cooking down. Dinner done.
Enjoy a wicked simple dinner. We had ours with tots!