Prep 24 hrs
Cook 2 hrs
Once upon a time in Philadelphia, in 1902, Joe Horn and Frank Hardart opened the first Automat in America with hardware they bought in Germany. Their very first automat was the one in Philadelphia, but the one that set the trend was the H & H that opened on Times Square in New York City in 1912. By 1939 there were 40 automats in operation. They were sort of like a cross between a vending machine and a cafeteria. You found the dish you wanted behind its glass door, put in coins, opened the little glass door, and took out the dish. But this was FRESH food, not the stuff one gets from food vending machines these days. People from all walks of life mixed and mingled at the H & H. If you were alone in the City at Thanksgiving, you could always have a great Thanksgiving dinner at H & H for a low price. When they closed their doors, they published some of their old recipes. This is one of them.
- 1 lb great northern beans or 1 lb navy beans
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2⁄3 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 1⁄2 cups tomato juice
- Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Add fresh water to cover the beans.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer.
- uncovered, until beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Place the beans in a baking pot or casserole dish.
- Stir in the onions, bacon, sugar, dry mustard, cayenne, molasses, vinegar, the tomato juice, and 1 cup of water.
- Stir the beans occasionally while baking and add more water if necessary, to prevent the mixture from drying.
- Season with salt to taste.
The recipe does not specify a cooking time. It says prep 24 hrs and cook 2 hours, but does that include the 1 hour simmering time BEFORE adding the onion, bacon, etc.? I have had the beans in the oven now for 2 hours at 250 and it is still very liquid. Does anyone ever check the validity of the recipes posted? Guess I'll have to take it with a grain of salt...
I got this recipe from an American friend several years ago and use to make it regularily. Now I have this great story along with the dish - as a non-American I didn't know anything about those automats but find it most interesting :-) Thanks for sharing!