Sunday, August 30, 2015

All American Baked Beans

Nothing screams summer (or English breakfast) like a crock full of baked beans. I grew up on these beans, waiting for every summer BBQ because I knew my mom was going to make them. While she made hers with navy beans and salt pork, I used red kidney beans and no meat due to having some vegetarians in the family.  You can really use any bean you like as long as it holds up during the grueling cooking time these babies require.

First off, I usually do about 1-1.5 cups of beans for a fairly large crowd. It may not look like a lot, but they grow during cooking. A very important thing about many varieties of dried beans, SOAK THEM, at least overnight (8 hours). What this does are two things; re-hydrate and reduce cooking time (thus preserving the nutrients) them and removes some of the oligosaccharides from the bean. If you don't remove the oligosaccharides you are in for a musical day the next morning. It removes the sugar that causes us to ....well...toot.

I change the water every few hours, maybe you don't have to, but I do. I don't know why. Anyway....After soaking, add them to your crock pot and cover with water, just maybe half an inch above the top of the beans. Next, add your ingredients all at once and stir. It's not going to look pretty, but just you wait.

 The ingredients are simple:
1.Ketchup or a small can of tomato paste
2. Yellow mustard
3. Molasses
4. Onion
5. Brown sugar or Coconut sugar

Chop the onion into large pieces. It will break down during cooking. Add a generous squirt of mustard, maybe a table spoon. Next, add the can of tomato paste, about 1/3 cup of molasses and brown sugar. You might want to add some onion powder too. Any additions is totally up to you. In the picture below, I added cocoa powder to see how deep I could get the flavors, forgetting that there is a lot of sugar in the beans.

Stir and set the crock to cook on low for the next 12 hours or so. You can stir every now and then. The sauce will become dark, thick and rich.