Porky baked beans

Pork feet in all their naked glory.

I don’t use pork feet and hocks to be gross or avant-garde. I use them for flavour and texture. The porkiness is even more pronounced when these pieces come from heritage breeds raised in outdoor environments like those of Mariposa Farm (see full story). Maybe other odd meat bits don’t have enough culinary clout to merit being used. But feet and hocks should not be ignored.

In addition to the porky bits, this recipe hinges on a low and slow bake. Though I give 4 hours as a guide, cook time will depend on how long you soaked the beans and how old they are. Old beans take much longer to cook. Ask any gardener.

Porky baked beans.

Porky baked beans.

Ingredients for stock

2 pig’s feet
1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise
¼ tsp nutmeg
5 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

Ingredients for beans

Skin from pork feet
1 pound (500 g) small white beans, soaked overnight in salted water
2 medium onions, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup tomato paste
½ cup fancy molasses

¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp paprika
1 pork hock piece
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp cider vinegar
Chopped parsley

Method

Bring all ingredients for stock to a boil and reduce to simmer for 2 hours. Be sure to skim the scum that rises to the surface.

Strain the stock, reserving the feet. Remove the skin from the feet, scrape off the fat and chop the skin into very small pieces.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Drain your beans and place them into a large mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. You could cook the onions and garlic until translucent before adding them to the mix but I don’t. Things will have more than enough time to blend in the oven.

Place the pork hock and bay leaf into a large bean pot or dutch oven. Cover with bean mixture. Pour the hot stock to cover everything, allowing some head room in case things bubble over.

Cover your bean pot and place in the hot oven for 4 hours. Before ending bake, taste to be sure the beans are fully cooked.

Remove the pot from the oven. Reliven the beans by stirring in the cider vinegar. 

Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with lots of buttered toast.

Porky baked beans