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ELLEN'S KITCHEN

Beans for 100

To me, the most practical way to make beans for 100 people is in the oven or roaster oven, so here are a few side dishes that involve baking beans. Remember that traditional made-from-scratch Boston Baked Beans are cooked in sugar or molasses and often tomato, so they tend to firm up slightly in response to the acid and stay a bit firm, not soft and tender, even when done. A lot of people like their beans, even their baked bean style beans, softer than that, more like canned beans. To achieve soft beans with a Boston flavor in the home kitchen, you have to cook the beans partially done before adding all the flavors, or start with canned beans.

Over and over I have found that I get the most compliments on my beans when they contain some fat or oil, even if made without meat. I always add 1-3 tablespoons of fat or oil per pound of dried beans. The drippings from meatloaf make a wonderful addition to a pot of beans.

Raw kidney beans, and to a lesser extent some other beans (such as broad/fava beans), contain the toxin phytohaemagglutinin, which is destroyed by boiling for at least ten minutes, but not by the lower temperatures of a slow cooker, so dry beans must be boiled prior to slow cooking/ oven cooking to avoid poisoning. Even a few beans can be toxic, and beans can be as much as five times more toxic if cooked at 175F (80C) than if eaten raw, so adequate pre-boiling is vital. Cases of poisoning by slow-cooked (crock pot) beans have been published in the UK.

These recipes make 60-70 cups, almost 20 quarts or about four and a half gallons of beans. One recipe over-fills an 18 quart Nesco roaster- I use two for ease and safety- or 3 to 4 8 quart crock pots. Plan your simmering or baking pan sizes accordingly.

Traditional Boston Baked Beans

water for soaking and precooking
7 pounds navy beans, white pea beans, or great Northern beans
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups molasses
OPTIONAL 3/4 to 3 1/2 cups ketchup (yep, preference varies a LOT)
1/3 to 2 cups brown sugar
1/2 to 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 to 4 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 pound pork or salt pork or bacon and 1 cup of the fat
OR 1 1/2 cup olive oil
2-4 onions, chopped
2 teaspoons ground clove
2 cups water OR enough to make the sauce cover all the beans
Additional water added as needed to keep beans covered.

Soak navy beans overnight, drain and rinse. Cover with water, bring to a boil, cover pan and cook 10 minutes. Drain and add the remaining ingredients except the salt pork. Saute the salt pork until tender and add to beans. Also add up to 1 cup of the fat from the pork. Pour into well greased oven pans. Cover and cook covered until the last half hour. Cook at 325-350 degrees for 2 hours, stir, if dry add a little more water. Continue baking for 3 hours total in a conventional oven or 2 to 2 1/2 hours totalin a convection oven.

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Plain old church supper pork and beans

100 3/4 cup servings or 150 1/2 cup servings
Two roasters, if using the 18 quarts electric roasters.

6 #10 cans pork and beans
3 pounds brown sugar
3 quarts (3 32-oz. size bottles or 1/2 of a #10 can) catsup
1 pint prepared mustard
1 pound raw bacon, diced
1-2 12 ounce packages frozen chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into well greased oven pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours in a conventional oven or 30 to 45 minutes in a convection oven. Cook covered until the last half hour.

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The Biloxi Deacons' Baked Butterbeans

Kind of a sweet and sour thing going flavorwise. Mighty good.
100 3/4 cup servings, but 50 deacon ate 3/4 of it all gone.
Two roasters, if using the 18 quarts electric roasters.

small bone in picnic ham or Boston Butt, about 6 pounds, simmered and shredded, save broth
OR 1 1/2 cup olive oil
water for soaking and precooking
8 pounds dry large butterbeans
2 pounds (about 3 heads) celery, diced with leaves
3 pounds onions, chopped
8 # 2 1/2 cans chopped tomatoes in juice
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 pounds brown sugar
1/2 to 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons salt if not using picnic ham
water enough to make sauce cover all the beans
Additional water as needed to keep beans covered.

The day before, simmer the picnic shoulder in water to cover until it falls from the bone. Pick out the bone, any gristle and the skin, and discard. Shred the meat and return to the broth, cover and chill. Soak beans overnight, drain and rinse.
Cover beans with water, bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes. Drain. Add all the remaining ingredients including the meat and enough of the broth to immerse all the beans in plenty of juice.
Pour into well greased oven pans or a roaster. Cover and cook covered until the last half hour. Cook at 325 degrees for 2 hours, stir, if dry add more broth or water. Bake at 325-350 for 1 more hour (3 hours total) in a conventional oven or 2 to 2 1/2 hours in a convection oven. Uncover the last 30 minutes if too moist.

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Borracho ("Drunken") Beans for 8 or 100

This very traditional recipe cooks off the alcohol, leaving only a delicious TexMex treat. Around Mexico City, many taco stands serve salsa borracho, or "drunken sauce" fortified with pulque, a fermented beverage made from the agave plant. As "drunken" dishes crawled north towards the border, and away from the source of pulque, beer became the ingredient of choice. You can use pinto beans (traditional) or pink or black beans; all delicious.
Because beans take so long to cook, they are traditionally made in large batches. Leftover beans, once they are well cooled, can be frozen in smaller portions. They are great as a side dish, or as the base for tacos, tostadas, chalupas, or refried beans.
Borracho beans don't keep quite as well in the refrigerator as other cooked beans. They hold well overnight, but if you are keeping them longer, freeze them.

For 100 people, START WITH 12 pounds of beans!

For each 1 pound of beans (about 8 people):
1 pound dried beans (pinto, black or pink)
2 quarts water or mixed water and chicken/meat broth
1/2 pound seasoning meat (bacon, ham, pork shoulder, etc)
2 serrano or jalapeno peppers
1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped
OR substitute 1 can Rotel tomatoes with peppers for the fresh tomatoes
3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 1 cup chopped cilantro
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) dark beer or ale
salt and pepper to taste
2 limes, juice added just before serving
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound chopped onion
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon whole cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce
TO SERVE
24 tortillas (corn is traditional)
1 pound shredded cheese

IMPORTANT! Add stock or water to keep the beans slightly soupy throughout the cooking process. Stir the beans occasionally throughout the entire time to make sure they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.

Soak beans in a large pot of water overnight.
Drain beans, and refill the pot with chicken or meat stock and enough water to cover the beans with 2 inches of liquid. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Beans will foam for a short while; stir until no more foam develops.
If you are transfering to an electric roaster preheated at 300 or a crock pot/slow cooker prewarmed on high, NOW is the time to do it!
Add seasoning meat, optional bay leaf and cumin and simmer, stirring occasionally until beans are desired texture, about 1 hour, adding additional 1/2 cup water per pound of beans as necessary to keep beans from drying on bottom of pot.
Add garlic, optional chili powder, hot sauce, and onion and cook until onions are very tender, about 1 hour in the pot or roaster, 3 hours in the crock pot.
Add tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes, then add ale, stirring in slowly.
Simmer until all alcohol has evaporated. To tell, bend over pot and breathe deeply. Smell should be fragrant and smooth, with no sharp alcohol smell. This usually takes at least 15 minutes after the beer is added. If possible, simmer an hour longer to allow flavors to steep and mellow. If too soupy, leave the lid off the pot for part of the time.
With a potato masher, crush the beans slightly to thicken the bean liquid. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. They are even better the second day.
To serve, stir in the fresh lime juice, serve with as an entree with grated cheddar or Mexican cheese and corn tortillas, or as a side dish for any grilled meat.

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