Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Slow Cooked Baked Beans

Slow Cooked baked beans
My tasting partner and I have been trying to follow a ‘vegan at home’ diet for over a year now.  We have been fairly successful and only break the rules when we are celebrating when one of our boys comes home or during a family holiday.  Beans have become a mainstay of our diet, and our middle son and his lovely girlfriend gave us a “Year of Beans” from Rancho Gordo,  an heirloom bean company near San Francisco.  I have always liked beans, but have in the past used only canned beans.  You have to plan ahead when using dried beans, and I usually plan my dinner meal when I first wake up- what do I feel like eating that day.  And it seems so time consuming to soak the beans over night and then cook them the next day when a can of beans can be opened and used immediately.  However, I have been converted: every package of heirloom beans that I have used from Rancho Gordo has been outstanding, and I now think a day ahead when thinking of beans.  I recently used some dried white beans called ‘ayocote blanco chico’ from Rancho Gordo to make Slow Cooked Baked Beans and they were delicious.  My tasting partner went back for thirds!  From the Rancho Gordo website, they say that ‘‘because it's a runner bean, these beans can hold its own with some rough cooking, so go ahead and use them in cassoulet or salads. They won't fall apart easily and yet they're soft and creamy.”  Rancho Gordo beans have a limited production and distribution, so I would look for an heirloom white bean if at all possible such as dried navy beans, Great Northern Beans or kidney beans.

Recipe after the jump

Slow Cooked Baked Beans

Cook time: 8 hours

1 pound (2 to 2 1/4 cups) dry white beans such as Navy beans or Great Northern beans (can also use kidney beans)
2 Tbsp of canola oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teas salt
3 cups hot water
1 medium onion, (1 1/2 cups) chopped

1 Place beans in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Soak overnight and drain.  Alternatively, if you have not planned ahead, then bring a pot with the beans covered with 2 inches of water to a boil, remove from heat and let soak for an hour, then drain.

2 Mix the molasses, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, minced garlic, salt and ground cloves with 3 cups of hot water.

3 Pour the canola oil in the bottom of a slow-cooker (or a Dutch oven if you are cooking in the oven).  Layer over with half of the drained beans. Add all of the onions in a layer, and then top with another layer of beans. Pour the molasses water mixture over the beans to just cover the beans.

4 Cover and cook in a slow-cooker on the low setting for 8 hours (or in a 250°F oven), until the beans are tender. Check the water level a few hours in, and if the beans need more water, add some. Add additional salt to taste if needed. Note that fresher beans will cook faster than older beans. Your beans may be ready in less than 8 hours, or they may take longer.

Yield: Serves 5-6 as a main dish or 10-12 as a side.

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