Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Basic Baked Beans

This is my 200th post on my blog! So in honor of that I'll be posting 200 things you didn't know about Jill!

Just kidding!

It really is my 200th post but even I don't know 200 things about me. Instead I'm going to post one of my favorite bean recipes, baked beans.

Baked beans are so versatile. You can use them as a side dish for all sorts of things. We like them as a main dish, either with chopped ham stirred in or served over a bed of rice. Add some cornbread and a crunchy salad and you have a fabulous, healthful, cheap dinner.

I have heard of using baked beans as a bottom layer in a shepherd's pie like dish, or top with cornbread batter and bake and make a tamale pie type of thing. I also read a tip in my More With Less Cookbook that suggests spreading leftover baked beans on bread and toasting with cheese or a strip of bacon on the top.

This recipe comes from the More With Less Cookbook (have I mentioned that this in one of my favorite cookbooks?). It is a nice basic recipe that is fabulous by itself but allows itself to a lot of tweaking if you feel like it. It works great in the crock pot (I never make it in the oven, I only make it in the crockpot).

Basic Baked Beans

Soak overnight or by quick method:

1 lb navy beans (about two cups or so)
2 qts water

Drain the water and add fresh. The bring the beans to a boil and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hrs. Drain, reserving liquid

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine in a 2 qt. casserole:

cooked beans
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. ketchup (optional)
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped or 1/4 lb salt pork (optional)
bean liquid to cover

Bake 4-8 hours, adding liquid occasionally if necessary. Cover during first half of baking time then uncover.

  • I almost never use the bacon/salt pork. I usually leave it "vegetarian" until I stir in big chunks of ham (which my veggie kids can pick out). It does need some kind of fat though, so I add a Tb. of so of oil or butter/margarine. It just gives it a smoother, richer mouth-feel.
  • You do need to simmer the beans ahead of time. I learned this the hard way when I served my husband's family crunchy baked beans one summer at a bbq. I think it is the salt you are adding to the cooking liquid, it didn't allow the beans to get soft. I usually just soak the beans overnight then simmer them in the morning while I'm getting ready then stick it all in the crockpot and let it cook all day.
  • I sometimes use prepared mustard and sometimes I use dry mustard, doesn't make a huge difference.
  • I sometimes use dried onion flakes instead of a chopped onion.
  • I almost always use the ketchup, but that's me.
  • You can add a couple of TBs. of brown sugar for a different taste.
  • You can add some "heat" ingredients if you like that kind of stuff - I don't. I'm a total "spice wimp."
  • If you cook it in the Crockpot, you won't need to add additional liquid, just cook it on low for 6-8 hours and you'll be fine.


1 comment:

Nancy said...

My mom taught me about baked bean sandwiches when I was a kid -- 2 slices of bread, a thin layer of mayo,baked beans and the other slice of bread. Mmmm....good!