Community triple-shot: recipe dedicated to Starburns

Part three: This week’s Community recipe is Starbeans

With the demise of Starburns, I have shelved my planned Community recipe for a week in order to dedicate one to our late, beloved creepy dude with absurd facial hair. I could almost see him eating these beans in the Greendale cafeteria or else while huddled over the beakers in his car trunk meth lab.

This recipe makes your standard baked beans. However, there is a big difference between having them out of a can and making your own. Not only is it cheaper, but the flavours are much more alive and bright when you make your own. One tip is to be careful with the molasses. A bit too much can dominate the whole thing and you’ll taste nothing but molasses. Another is to make sure that your beans are fully cooked before you bake them. They will not cook any more once you add salt. The other, of course, is that you could always add bacon for pork and beans. Just take a few rashes and cut them into thin slices and add them to the whole mixture before popping it in the oven. As a vegetarian, I do not endorse this move, but who am I to tell you what you should or should not eat? I’m just telling you how to cook it.

Starbeans

2 cups white navy beans, soaked, cooked, and water reserved

1 medium onion, fine dice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon molasses

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

½ teaspoon ground mustard seed

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1 – Heat your oven to 350F. In a baking dish, mix the beans, bay leaves, and onion so that they are evenly distributed. I like to use a clay baking dish with a lid, but anything large enough will do. If you have no oven-safe lid for the container, cover it with foil before popping it into the oven.

2 – Mix the ketchup, molasses, pepper, mustard, salt, and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour over the beans and cover the whole thing with enough of the cooking liquid to come up about a centimetre above the beans. I like to give it a gentle stir at this point to make sure that everything is well-distributed.

3 – Cover and bake for about three to four hours, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the beans are a nice, deep brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while covered. If they suck up too much of the liquid, just thin with a bit of water when you reheat and correct for salt if necessary.

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