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:
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.