I feel it is fair to warn you that I’ve never done this before, and I think the crazy weather is going to my head. We always keep dry beans in the pantry for emergencies and such, but we rarely ever use them because we always seem to be in a hurry and beans from scratch take quite awhile. With all the crazy weather lately I guess things are feeling a little less rushed, so I am being brave this week and making baked beans from scratch.
Here’s the catch, I wanted this to be a dish that everyone can enjoy so that means cooking around the allergies, as we generally do. That means making some tweaks and changes from all the recipes floating around out there, the biggest change being no pork. (Our oldest son is allergic to pork.) For once, the easy part is making them gluten free, because unless you’re using bottled barbecue sauce baked beans are generally gluten free already, even certain brands of the canned variety.
Since we were testing recipes we also decided to try breading chicken fillets with instant potatoes (saw it in a gluten free magazine) – verdict on that, doesn’t work well for baked as suggested in the article we read, might turn out better if frying them though. Okay, on to the baked beans…..
I started off with a bag and a half of dry beans, soaked em overnight in some salty water…..
- dry beans (we used one bag of great northern beans and half a bag of navy beans, you use what you like)
- 1 package turkey bacon
- 1 large onion (or two small, we used a gigantic vidalia onion)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup quality maple syrup
- 1 cup ketchup (or 1 can tomato paste)
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- dry mustard
- salt & pepper
- soak beans overnight
- In the morning drain and rinse the beans, then put them into a stock pot or use a pasta pot, fill it up with water as if you were going to make pasta, bring it to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to medium/low and allow to simmer for an hour or more until beans start to get tender.
- While the beans are cooking I crisp up the bacon and sweat the onions in a skillet. I put those in the bottom of the slow cooker so they were ready to be mixed into everything.
- When the beans are tender, drain reserving liquid. Add beans to slow cooker and stir up with the bacon and onion.
- Using at least 2 cups of the still hot liquid I start whisking in the sauce ingredients (ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup, seasonings) Important step: TASTE it, add more sweet or add more seasoning as you feel is needed. I actually added some more brown sugar and a bit more dry mustard.
- Pour sauce mixture over the beans, bacon, and onion in the slow cooker. Stir it up. It will look a little thin when you pour it, but remember the beans are going to be soaking up liquid in there all day long. Cook on high for the first four hours, reduce heat to low and cook another two to four hours.
Once everything goes into the crockpot, you just wait. And wait. And wait.
Then it starts to smell good and you should probably think about making something to go with these delicious beans for dinner.
Enjoy. Then enjoy a few more. Then save a bit for lunch the next day, they go great with whatever leftovers are floating around the fridge.