Trapped at home because of the coronavirus and looking for some recipe inspiration? The Logan Square Preservation featured historical Logan Square recipes from 1919-1986 in their January newsletter that we want to share during this time of staying home that can (hopefully) reconnect you with food and learn from some historical recipes of the area.
Leslie Gray, the editor of the Logan Square Preservation newsletter and author of the “Historical Edibles” story, featured the multifaceted cultural heritage of Logan Square. German, Scandinavian, Polish, Eastern European and Latinx recipes were incorporated reflecting the patterns of immigration in the 20th century.
From dishes such as baked beans, date pudding, Spanish stew, fish balls, chocolate cream, nut balls and more, there is no better time to try these recipes and tap into your chef’s side while paying homage to the cultures that were and are part of our community. Check out the recipes here and keep reading to see our vegan rendition of the baked beans.
When did these diverse communities come to Logan Square to make the neighborhood we love and know today amidst displacement and gentrification? In the late 1800s, there was an influx of German and Scandinavian immigrants. But in the 1920s after World War 1, Eastern European Jewish immigrants and Polish immigrants moved to the neighborhood. In the 1960s, there was an influx of Latinx individuals predominantly of Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Mexican descent who brought their cultures with them before the period of gentrification started peaking in the 2000s.
Gray researched recipes that were unique to specific historical periods that were also not too laborious, yet tangible for people to make. She researched the specific cookbooks such as “Original Recipes of Good Things to Eat” and “The Daughters of the King Cookbook from the Fourth Congregational Church.
While there were a plethora of recipes to choose from, Gray selected recipes with the approval of her chef friend. She then proceeded with sharing these 10 recipes from the historical cookbooks mentioned above.
Our Vegan Modification to Baked Beans
As a cooking enthusiast and vegetarian blogger, I decided to try one of these recipes and make my own modifications. While it can be challenging to buy basic ingredients for cooking right now because of hoarding (please don’t be that person), I already had some beans and veggie bacon in my kitchen so I decided to make the Baked Beans recipe.
I made it without the brown sugar (because I’m trying to be healthy) and substituted vegan bacon for pork bacon since I don’t eat meat. I especially did like the hot sauce and mustard touch featured in the original recipe. Since the recipes from Logan Square Preservation were somewhat general, I wanted to share some of the specific steps I took. Here is what I did:
- 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil or olive oil
- 4 strips of veggie bacon (I had Sweet Earth on hand but I also love Upton’s—it’s a local Chicago business!)
- 2-15 oz cans of baked beans (if you buy dried ones, be sure to soak them overnight and boil them/pressure cook them)
- ½ of a red onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
- 3 shots of hot sauce (I use Cholula and I put in about 5 because I like it spicy)
- 2 tsp of smoked Spanish paprika (I put in 3)
- 2 tsp of chili powder (I put in 3)
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp of soy butter (I use earthly balance)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small pot or regular dutch oven, heat up half of your oil on medium heat, then add in the onions and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until they are translucent. Add your garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
- Add in your spices, then the beans. Turn down your heat to low and stir everything together for about 5 minutes with the lid on.
- While your beans are simmering, in a separate small shallow pan, heat up the rest of your oil on medium heat, sauté your veggie bacon. It might vary based off the brand, but about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Put your veggie bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the oil. Let it rest.
- In your pot/dutch oven, add the Dijon mustard and hot sauce. Blend the flavors for about 1-2 minutes.
- Then stir in your soy butter and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Keep your beans in the dutch oven or transfer to a medium-sized oven proof casserole dish. Crumble and mix in the veggie bacon with your hands and sprinkle some on top. Bake for about 45 minutes and put foil on top if you are not using a dutch oven.
- Enjoy! Your beans are ready to eat!
Hungry for more history? If you are interested in learning more, check out the Logan Square Preservation site, Preservation Chicago, and numerous articles from the Chicago Public Library that can be found online. Happy cooking!
Featured graphic: Jamie Runyan