16 March 2008

Experimenting with Baked Beans

I heard someone saying how their grandma made real baked beans and I thought I would try my hand at it, to see how hard it was. I have actually always used canned beans in recipes, I have never made beans from scratch.

1 lb dry navy or soldier beans (I used a 1/2 & 1/2 mix of kidney and black beans)
1/3 c molasses
1/3 c cider vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 c brown sugar ( I omitted)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large white onion, quartered (I used 1/2 and chopped it)
1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (I used 1/2 regular bacon, 1/2 turkey bacon).
Bread for serving

Place the beans in an ovenproof pot or dutch oven. Add enough water to cover by 3 inches and let stand for at least ten hours. Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Add just enough water to cover the beans. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently until the beans are softened, about 1 hour. Add water as necessary to keep the beans barely covered. Meanwhile whisk together the molasses, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, pepper, and 2 TBS water. Drain the beans. Place the onion in an empty pot. Top with beans, then bacon, then the molasses mixture. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Cover the pot tightly and bake until the beans are tender and the bacon is falling apart, and the liquid is thick and bubbling, about 6 hours. Check the beans the last hour of cooking. If they appear to be drying out, add more water. (See there was water in the pot, it just was too liquid and sat at the bottom of the pot instead of coating the beans nicely and evenly).

The Result: It was too dry, though the beans were tender enough. Maybe I overcooked it by 1/2 an hour. Maybe I should have used a crock pot instead of cooking it in the oven. Oh, that was another first. I had never used one of my stove top pans for the oven as a "dutch oven." Maybe it was because the sugar helps to make a glaze and I omitted the sugar so the sauce was more like water? At any rate- Matt came up with a plan to rescue this dish (did I also mention there was way too much of it?) We put it on rolls and melted cheese on top.

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