Friday, March 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

This recipe is half on the stovetop, half in the slow cooker. Is that slow cooker cheating? Hmmm. At least it saves me from having to run my oven for 3 hours at 300 degrees.

The introduction from the original cookbook explains why the beans have to be thoroughly cooked and tender before adding the sauce ingredients because the beans will soften no further after the addition of acidic flavorings (ketchup, coffee). Maybe this is why my previous attempts over the years have all been disappointing. I love it when I learn new things!

These would be really good for a potluck or BBQ, and not sickening sweet with a slight tinny aftertaste that most canned baked beans seem to have. These taste homemade!

As you can see in the photos below, I threw a bay leaf in the first cooking, but the sauce overtook the flavor, so I wouldn't bother with it the next time.

I cut the ground ginger in half from the original recipe, and still felt there was a very strong ginger taste. So if you aren't a fan of ginger, reduce it even more from 1 teaspoon.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans
recipe adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar
Serves 6

2 cups dried navy or pea beans, soaked overnight and drained (I used pinto because that's what I had!)
8 cups water
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine the beans with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covered, until just tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Dump the whole pot (beans and water) into slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Cover and cook on High for 4 hours. Check the beans occasionally and add hot water if necessary or if the beans seem to be too soupy, remove the cover and let them cook for 30 minutes or until sauce is slightly reduced.

Serve hot.

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