Baked Beans with Pork Belly and Quince
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HR plus overnight soaking
- SERVINGS: 10
Michel Nischan likes to modernize classic New England recipes for Dressing Room's menu, which he calls "updated heritage cuisine." Here he puts a spin on traditional baked beans by swapping bacon with fresh pork belly and replacing the usual molasses with fresh quince, which sweetens the beans while also thickening the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds pork belly, skin discarded, belly sliced 1 inch thick and cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups dried Tarbais or cannellini beans (26 ounces), soaked overnight and drained
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 quarts Ham Hock Stock
- 2 pounds quince (about 4)peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup snipped chives
- Heat the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. In 2 batches, cook the pork belly over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork belly to a plate. Add the onion to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pork belly and the beans, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaves. Add the Ham Hock Stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes. Skim off the fat with a ladle.
- Add the quince to the beans and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook until the pork, beans and quince are very tender, about 45 minutes longer.
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Transfer the beans to one 3-quart or two 1 1/2-quart baking dishes and bake until the top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.
This ultra-satisfying take on baked beans, a classic American dish, deserves an ultra-satisfying American red wine perhaps a voluptuous Zinfandel from a warm growing region like California's Paso Robles.