Have you ever considered making chili but just wanted something a bit less tomato/Mexican/spicy? Maybe not, because I love Mexican food, too. But today’s recipe for beans with pulled pork/turkey/ham are definitely that “stick-to-your-ribs” goodness, with the sweetness of apple and a warm flavor rather than the spicy tang of chili. It gave our house a delicious smell of Autumn and was a perfect follow-up to our windy walk along the ocean yesterday!
Finally four of us together – Fever Pitch Quartet
It’s been a tough 6 months. When we all went into lockdown, and started working remotely, our barbershop quartet had just hit the peak of our annual contest prep and really felt like we were ready to make a splash this time. We’d added extra rehearsals, met together in Maine for a retreat weekend, had monthly coaching to work on specific skills and were so excited. Then mid-March hit and everyone had to stay home, order food delivery, and rehearsals and our contest went the way of toilet paper in April! Totally non-existent! As things started opening up again later in April and into May, three of us did get together again. Still socially distant, still masked, but we were outside together, doing a weekly hike. But our tenor Stephanie was still busy with home, and life, and work, and couldn’t join us. We did get together for one outdoor visit with some singing in masks, but it didn’t feel right, and didn’t sound right, and then summer was on us. But this past weekend, we drove down to Barnstable, MA and gathered for coffee, a beach walk, and lunch out at Anejo, an AMAZING Mexican restaurant in Hyannis.
Shopping, visiting, and heading home
We had a delicious lunch with adult beverages (I went with La Paloma, perfect with the fried haddock Baha Tacos!) and we stopped at Kandy Korner for fudge, almond turtles, salted caramel chocolates and picked up a few bargain souvenir sweatshirts! Bentley, Stephanie’s chocolate lab, also enjoyed the initial beach walk and chased the wind into the water, coming back to give us salty lab kisses and be our guard as we wandered along the shore. It was so nice to be outside, catch up on what was happening with each other, and just enjoy the sunshine.
Stopping at the National Cemetery
As we usually do whenever Beth and I are down the Cape, we stopped off at The National Cemetery in Bourne, where both of my parents are buried. Looking at their stone it was unbelievable, both that my father has been gone 26 years, and that my mother passed almost 2 years to the day that we visited. Traditionally, my father loved a Boston Cream donut, but he was diabetic, so pretty much didn’t eat any for the last three decades of his life. But he’d always ask me to get one and describe it to him as I ate. My mother love jelly donuts. When we’d call before visiting her in the nursing home she’d always ask for a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream, and a jelly donut. She lived just 2 miles away after she moved out of our house, so we stopped in regularly, sometimes to just give her a good night hug. But now, when we go to the cemetery, we bring a Boston Cream, and a Jelly Donut, and take a bite in their memories, then leave the donuts behind for them.
We also took some other photos there. It’s such a peaceful, private place. One I took, I noticed later appeared to have a white swath of mist across it, and a strange image at the bottom. Is it another ghost picture like the ones I took in Canada?
A long drive means Beans on Sunday
So by the time we got back from our trip to the Cape it was far too late, and I was far too tired to create my bean soup! It would need a few hours of cooking! So this morning I got up and set things to simmering! I hope you like this twist on a chili bean dish without chili and without tomatoes!
Apple, Bean, Ham, and Turkey “Chili” with Honey Green Chile Corn Bread
Ingredients for Bean dish
- 1 gallon water
- 1 – 2 large apples, cored and cubed (you can leave the skin on)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Cooked joints from ham, pork, and turkey (I used the bone from a smoked, spiral sliced ham, the joint from last week’s pork shoulder, and two large roasted turkey legs)
- 1 1/2 cups baby carrots
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
- 2 TB salt
- 1 Tsp ground black pepper
- 1 handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 bay leaves (or 1 giant one like I used)
- 1 TB curry powder
- 1/3 cup apple wine
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 4 cups mixed cooked beans (I used canned: kidney – red, white and pink, lima, cannelini, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, butter, and romano beans
- Place the water, apples, parsley, joints (with skin, and meat), carrots, onion, garlic, salt, pepper into a large pot and allow to come to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 – 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, carefully remove the bones and gristle as well as any skin in the mixture. Your liquid should be cooked down a bit.
- Shred the meat and return to the pot.
- Add the thyme (just the tenderest stems, and the leaves), bay leaves, curry powder, apple wine, lentils and beans and allow to continue simmering for another hour, stirring occasionally.
- At the end of the hour, remove the bay leaves and remove the pot from the heat, adding additional salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Cover and allow to cool and flavors to blend.
While this is happening, prepare your corn bread! If you like store-bought, or a quick out-of-the-box version, that’s great too, but if you want homemade, this is one of our favorite recipes:
Honey Cornbread with green chiles
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (I use powedered then just add the correct liquid)
- 1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles, drained, patted dry, and tossed in a bit of flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Grease a springform pan and set aside
- In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Melt the butter in a separate bowl in the microwave
- Add oil, sugar and honey to a large bowl and stir in the melted butter until well mixed
- Add eggs and buttermilk and whisk well.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, until fully incorporated, but a few lumps are okay. You don’t want to over mix.
- Gently stir in the green chiles
- Pour the batter into your springform pan and knock gently on the counter to let air bubbles escape. Smooth the top of the batter.
- Bake for 30 minutes or so until golden brown and the sides are pulling away from the side of the pan. A toothpick (or broom straw) inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Allow to cool 10 – 15 minutes before cutting!
Enjoy with more honey and butter, and the yummy apple bean dish above!
And with Fever Pitch Quartet still not sure when we’ll be able to sing together for real, we’re hoping that at least a few more Saturday or Sunday adventures await us before the snow flies! Feel free to follow us on Facebook to find out when we’re singing next!
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