A Boston Dinner?
Perhaps my favorite comfort food meal is this odd combination of breakfast links, baked beans, and applesauce. Is this a Boston thing?
At my college outside of Boston (then Dean Jr. College, now Dean College), it was the only thing I liked in their cafeteria. Compared to my parents’ food and Princeton High School’s cafeteria (which had great salad as I remember), the College food seemed TERRIBLE to this student.
But on Saturday nights they served this unlikely trio and I was quickly won over. I’ve posted on Facebook about it before, but since I just had it again the other night, thought it worth a more detailed blog post.
The sausage should be breakfast links, for me it has to be the kind with sage. I love the ones from the Amish Market near me, but recently ordered some from FreshDirect which are also good. Since their links are bigger, one is a serving for me, where the ones from the Amish market are small, so two “per.” And once, when I was out of sausage but really wanted that meal, I thawed some ground pork I had in the freezer and mixed it with spices. After letting it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, it made excellent patties. (Hint: if you don’t care about casings, making your own sausage is child’s play.)
The applesauce – I use plain, unsweetened applesauce, usually those single serve tubs from Trader Joe’s, but this week I had homemade. No cinnamon for this girl, either, just plain apples.
The beans – my favorite are Bush’s baked beans with onion, but I often keep another kind or two on hand, just to switch things up occasionally. But, just like my mother, I doctor them up a little with a squirt of ketchup, a teaspoon or so of dry mustard (I use Chinese hot mustard for some reason, not sure when/how that started), and maybe a bit of molasses or vinegar.
That’s it, and if you think it’s just too strange, I do understand, but I find it deeply satisfying on a cold winter night, or even an unseasonably cool night the rest of the year.
My college friend John Cole commented on a brief Facebook post I did on this last May that he remembers they offered roasted potatoes at that meal too, and I do agree that sounds like it would be very good, although it requires more planning.
I keep thinking this meal must be a typical Boston thing, and online I found a similar meal here, in a casserole version that mentions serving it with brown bread. Sounds great to me, I can just hear that “Bah-ston” accent now.
I also found, on Food Network, an apple-baked bean casserole topped with bacon from Paula Deen that is more of a side dish (to me, anyway), but easy to do for a crowd.