One of America’s Favorites – Succotash

September 20, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A simple succotash prepared with kidney instead of lima beans

Succotash (from Narragansett sohquttahhash, “broken corn kernels” is a vegetable dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans.

Other ingredients may be added such as onions, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, bell peppers, corned beef, salt pork, or okra.

Combining a grain with a legume provides a dish that is high in all essential amino acids.

Succotash has a long history. The dish was introduced as a stew to North American colonists in the 17th century by indigenous peoples. Composed of ingredients unknown in Europe at the time, it gradually became a standard meal in the cuisine of New England and is a traditional dish of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the region, as well as in Pennsylvania and other states.

Because of the relatively inexpensive and more readily available ingredients, the dish was popular during the Great Depression in the United States.[citation needed] It was sometimes cooked in a casserole form, often with a light pie crust on top as in a traditional pot pie.

A “kitchen sink” succotash made with corn, lima beans, okra, andouille sausage, shrimp, tomato, onion, garlic, and basil

Sweet corn (a form of maize), American beans, tomatoes, and peppers are New World foods.

Catherine Beecher’s 19th-century recipe includes beans boiled with corn cobs from which the kernels have been removed. The kernels are added later, after the beans have boiled for several hours. The corn cobs are removed and the finished stew, in proportions of 2 parts corn to 1 part beans, is thickened with flour.

Henry Ward Beecher’s recipe, published in an 1846 issue of Western Farmer and Gardner, adds salt pork, which he says is “an essential part of the affair.”

In some parts of the American South, any mixture of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with lard or butter is called succotash.

One of America’s Favorites – Clam Chowder

May 17, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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New England clam chowder

Clam chowder is any of several chowder soups in American cuisine containing clams. In addition to clams, common ingredients include diced potatoes, salt pork, and onions. Other vegetables are not typically used. It is believed that clams were used in chowder because of the relative ease of harvesting them. Clam chowder is usually served with saltine crackers or small, hexagonal oyster crackers.

The dish originated in the Eastern United States, but is now commonly served in restaurants throughout the country. Many regional variations exist, but the three most prevalent are New England or “white” clam chowder, which includes milk or cream, Manhattan or “red” clam chowder, which includes tomatoes, and Rhode Island or “clear” clam chowder, which omits both.

 

The most popular variety of clam chowder, the milk-based New England clam chowder, which was influenced by French and Nova Scotian cuisine, became common in the 18th century. The first recipe for Manhattan clam chowder, with tomatoes and no milk, was published before 1919, and the current name is attested in 1934. In 1939, the legislature of the state of Maine considered outlawing the use of tomatoes in clam chowder, but this did not pass.

 

Manhattan clam chowder has a reddish color from tomatoes

As recipes for clam chowder spread throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, many regionally developed variants have arisen.

Manhattan clam chowder
Manhattan clam chowder has a red, tomato-based broth, initially introduced by Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine. Thyme is often used as a seasoning.

In the 1890s, this chowder was called “Fulton Fish Market clam chowder” and “New York City clam chowder. Manhattan clam chowder is included in Victor Hirtzler’s Hotel St. Francis Cookbook (1919) as “clam chowder.” The “Manhattan” name is first attested in a 1934 cookbook.

Today, Manhattan-style chowder often contains other vegetables, such as adding celery and carrots to include a mirepoix.

New England clam chowder
New England clam chowder, occasionally referred to as Boston or Boston-style clam chowder, is a milk or cream-based chowder, and is often of a thicker consistency than other regional styles. It is commonly made with milk, butter, potatoes, salt pork, onion, and clams. Flour or, historically, crushed hard tack may be added as a thickener.

New England clam chowder is usually accompanied by oyster crackers. Crackers may be crushed and mixed into the soup for thickener, or used as a garnish.

Rhode Island clam chowder
Rhode Island clam chowder is made with clear broth, and contains no dairy or tomatoes. It is common in southeastern Rhode Island through eastern Connecticut. In Rhode Island, it is sometimes called “South County Style” referring to Washington County, where it apparently originated.

Long Island clam chowder
Long Island clam chowder is part New England-style and part Manhattan-style, making it a pinkish creamy tomato clam chowder. The name is a joke: Long Island is between Manhattan and New England. The two parent chowders are typically cooked separately before being poured in the same bowl. This variant is popular in many small restaurants across Suffolk County, New York.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Baked Beans

April 22, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Baked beans over scrambled eggs on toast

Baked beans is a dish containing beans, sometimes baked but, despite the name, usually stewed, in a sauce.] Most commercially canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as navy beans (a variety of Phaseolus vulgaris) in a sauce. In Ireland and Great Britain, a tomato sauce is most commonly used, and they are commonly eaten on toast or as part of a full English, Scottish, or Irish breakfast.

American Boston baked beans use a sauce prepared with molasses and salt pork, the popularity of which has led to the city’s being nicknamed “Beantown”. Beans in a tomato and brown sugar, sugar, or corn syrup sauce are widely available throughout the US.

Canada’s Quebec-style beans often use maple syrup. This style is also popular in states bordering Canada’s eastern provinces.

Canned baked beans are used as a convenience food. They may be eaten hot or cold, straight from the can, as they are already fully cooked.

The beans presently used to make baked beans are all native to South America and were introduced to Europe around 1528. The dish is commonly described as having a savory-sweet flavor and a brownish- or reddish-tinted white bean once baked, stewed, canned or otherwise cooked. According to alternative traditions, sailors brought cassoulet from the south of France or northern France, and the Channel Islands, where bean stews were popular. Most probably, a number of regional bean recipes coalesced and cross-fertilised in North America and ultimately gave rise to the baked bean culinary tradition familiar today.

While many recipes today are stewed, traditionally beans were slow-baked in a ceramic or cast-iron beanpot. A tradition in Maine of “bean hole” cooking may have originated with the native Penobscot people and was later practiced in logging camps. A fire would be made in a stone-lined pit and allowed to burn down to hot coals, and then a pot with 11 pounds of seasoned beans would be placed in the ashes, covered over with dirt, and left to cook overnight or longer. These beans were a staple of Maine’s logging camps, served at every meal.

Canned beans, often containing pork, were among the first convenience foods, and it is in this form that they became exported and popularised by U.S. companies operating in the UK in the early 20th century. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated in 1996, “It has for years been recognized by consumers generally that the designation ‘beans with pork,’ or ‘pork and beans’ is the common or usual name for an article of commerce that contains very little pork.” The included pork is typically a piece of salt pork that adds fat to the dish.[citation needed]

Canned baked beans with small pork sausages are still available, as are variants with other added ingredients such as chili.

In the United States, Bush’s (Bush Brothers and Company), Van Camp’s, B&M (Burnham & Morrill Inc.), Allens, Inc., the H. J. Heinz Company, and the Campbell’s Soup Company are well-known

Beans on toast

producers or brands of packaged baked beans. B&M specializes in Boston-style baked beans often sold in beanpot-shaped jars, and canned brown bread, a traditional regional accompaniment to baked beans, whereas Bush and Van Camp produce multiple flavor varieties of canned beans, some styles using cured bacon to flavor the products.

In the New England region, baked beans are flavored either with maple syrup (Northern New England), or with molasses (Boston), and are traditionally cooked with salt pork in a beanpot in a brick oven for six to eight hours. In the absence of a brick oven, the beans were cooked in a beanpot nestled in a bed of embers placed near the outer edges of a hearth, about a foot away from the fire. Today, baked beans can be made in a slow cooker or in a modern oven using a traditional beanpot, Dutch oven, or casserole dish.

In southern states and along the eastern seaboard of the U.S., the beans become tangier usually due to the addition of yellow mustard. For example, the baked beans of Tennessee-based Bush’s include mustard in most of their varieties of beans. Ground beef may also become common alongside bacon in the home versions some of these bean styles. They may take on a flavor similar to Cowboy Beans, a home-mixed stew, somewhat similar to a chili but made instead with sweet baked beans.

Baked beans are a staple side dish for various types of barbecue. This is due in part to the ease of handling, as they can be served hot or cold, directly from the can, making them handy for outdoor eating. The tomato-based sweet sauce also complements many types of barbecue. The already-cooked beans may also be baked in a casserole dish topped with slices of raw bacon, which is baked until the bacon is cooked. Additional seasonings are sometimes used, such as additional brown sugar or mustard to make the sauce more tangy.

Heinz baked beans became very successful as an export to the UK, where canned baked beans are now a staple food. In America, the H. J. Heinz Co. continue to sell baked beans, although they are not always as widely distributed as competing American brands. Despite their international fame, there are currently substantial differences between the Heinz baked beans produced for the UK market (descended from the original American recipe) and the nearest currently equivalent American product (Heinz Premium Vegetarian Beans).

The American product contains brown sugar where the British beans do not, and the U.S. product contains 14 g of sugar per 16 oz tin compared to 7 g for the British version (equating to 140 versus 90 calories). The U.S. beans have a mushier texture and are darker in color than their UK counterpart. This has resulted in a situation where the product is now imported back to the brand’s home country. For several years, UK Heinz Baked Beans have been available in the U.S., either in different-sized cans from those sold in the UK or in a 385-gram can (the same can as the 415-gram can in the UK) with an “export” label with American English spelling and the word “baked” dropped from the title on the label. These are sold in many U.S. specialty stores, attesting to the popularity of baked beans and their appeal to expats. Bush, Van Camp, B&M, and Heinz all produce pork-free baked beans labeled as vegetarian beans, making this American dish available to people who abstain from pork for religious, dietary, or ethical reasons.

Three beanpots used for cooking homemade baked beans. The small one is glazed with the letters “Boston Baked Beans”

In the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore, the term baked beans usually refers to tinned beans in a tomato sauce. They were originally imported from American companies, first sold in the UK in 1886 in the upmarket Fortnum & Mason store in London as an expensive foreign delicacy.

Today, baked beans are a staple convenience food in the UK, often eaten as part of the modern full English breakfast and particularly on toast (called simply “beans on toast”). Baked beans freshly cooked from raw ingredients, much closer to their original unprocessed, unindustrialised form, are offered by a few upmarket brunch establishments.

The best-selling brand in the UK is Heinz Baked Beans.

 

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