Thursday, January 8, 2009

Taste & Create - Canberra's Baked Beans

I haven't participated in Taste & Create for what seems to me like a long time. But I'm back in the saddle, paired up with Cath, The Canberra Cook. She already posted in December about her experience with my pumpkin pie from homemade puree, here. She had some trouble with her oven, so the pie suffered a bit, but the mini pies she made turned out great!

Meanwhile, having looked through Cath's extensive list of recipes, I chose one that fit wonderfully with my budget and my family's tastes. Here is her recipe for baked beans. These aren't the Boston-style baked beans, they include tomatoes and are less sweet. But they were delicious. The whole family enjoyed these hearty beans.

Baked Beans
1 cup haricot or navy beans (I didn't have either of these, so I used pinto beans)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion (I substituted dry minced onion)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
100g lean ham (I just used about half a can of DAK ham)
brown sugar, salt, pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain, and dump beans into slow cooker. Chop the onion finely, and the ham into small cubes. Mix in with beans, add canned tomatoes, molasses, vinegar and mustard. Add about another tomato can of water to make sure beans are well covered. Do NOT add salt.

Cook on slow setting for 6-8 hours (here I had some problems - I think there was something wrong with my beans because after 13 hours, they were still kind of hard. Maybe I should have soaked them longer). Stir occasionally if you're around, and add a little water if it seems to be drying out. When beans are soft enough for your taste, add salt, pepper and brown sugar to taste.

I doubled the recipe, because I figure why cook half a pound of beans when you can do the whole pound. Hmm, maybe that's part of why mine took so long - my poor old slow cooker had twice as many beans to cook. Hmmm... Besides the cooking time, this recipe doubles very easily. Anyway, this made a whole big pot full of beans, and I plan on freezing the leftovers to enjoy later. The flavor was good, especially after adding the salt and brown sugar. I think this is a recipe I would be glad to make again.


Jessica said...

Thanks for the simple, yet wholesome recipe idea!

a kelly said...

Great recipe! Love your blog!

About the beans: I have good results with doing a precook on the beans before adding them to a recipe. So after the soak I cook them for an hour on the stove or 6-8 hours in the crockpot by themself. Then add to the recipe. It's an extra step but it makes the beans yummy tender! Easier to digest also. (I dump that cooking water and rinse then before further cooking).
Keep up the great posts!!
Many thanks.

a kelly said...

oh...and when I do that precook of beans...I do the whole package and freeze what I don't need so they are ready for the next time!
(I'm a tightwad from waaayyyy back!)

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the tip, Alex! I'll be sure to give that a try. I prefer my beans to be tender but can never really get them tender enough. This may be the perfect solution!

Veronica said...

After soaking, I would always boil the beans for at least 10 minutes, then discard the water and start again with fresh water, or add them to the remaining ingredients (you could transfer them to the slow cooker at this point). Th e boiling destroys toxins and makes the beans more digestible.

If you have a pressure cooker, it's excellent for cooking pulses -- you can cook from dry in half an hour or so.

Sophie said...

I really like the addition of ham! So far I've only added ham to lentils, but mixing them with baked beans sounds perfect. I bet the saltiness of the ham tastes delicious with the hint of molasses in the beans :)!

Joan said...

What a great meal! Looks awesome. My mouth is watering a little. LOL

HoneyB said...

This looks great!

I just love taste and create! I can't wait for the next paring!

Cath said...

Hi Stephanie, glad it worked for you!

I think I probably only made half the quantity you did because that's what was in my cupboard at the time :)

Beans can be tricky - if they're old they are harder; if they're cooked with salt they will never soften. If your beans have been sitting around for a while, a pre-cook is good, and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in that phase is a last-resort trick to soften them.