Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Samp 'n' Beans (Gluten Free)

Samp 'n' Beans was one of those recipes that did not seem like it would taste good. I mean talk about bland. Navy beans, salt pork and hominy. Huh.  But, when one undertakes an  undertaking like mine, one can't back  out at the last minute. It also seemed southern or something. Hominy isn't particularly big in the Northeast.
Comes to do a little research, and we find out that samp and beans is actually a South African dish. Who knew that South Africa is full of women writing cooking  blogs? Of course, my idea of South Africa is permanently mired in the 1980s, with demonstrations against apartheid at the South African embassy every weekend.  In  fact, it was completely weird watching the World Cup opening game when South Africa played Mexico and realizing that it was okay to root for South Africa.
Anyhow, samp and  beans is really big in South Africa. Wikkipedia does have one throw away sentence in its article on samp and  beans that says it is derived from two Narragansett words, and that samp was a word for corn meal mush in colonial America.  However, we are left to guess how  a South African speciality made its way into a cookbook of heritage American recipes.
Back to the recipe itself. It is quite tasty. My husband Bob liked it. His exact words were "hominy is always good." Huh? Who knew? However be warned that there is a small problem. It may induce "what health professionals euphemistically refer to as flatulence." I've always liked that phrase. I pinched it from an article in The Washington Post some twenty years ago.  True. So. this is not something I would eat the day before I was going to have lunch with my  boss, or the day before I planned to leave the house.

 Samp  'n' Beans

2 pounds dried pea beans or navy beans
1 pound salt pork , streaked lean and fat
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cans coarse pearl (or big) hominy
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cover the beans with cold water and soak overnight.  (The workday will do nicely. Just put the  beans on to soak  before you run out the door in the morning.)
2. Next day, drain beans and place in a big kettle. Add fresh water to cover. Slice the salt pork almost all the way through so that the slices stay hinged together and add to beans.
3. Bring to a  boil and simmer, covered, until the beans are tender, about forty minutes. Add the onion and hominy and simmer thirty to forty-five minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 16 servings.

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