12 October, 2008
The other day, I discovered yet another item that takes a long time to cook, and the results aren’t all that much better than the stuff you can buy in a can. Baked beans. While the 16 hours it took to make the beans were by no means labor intensive, they still took a large amount of preplanning that I figure most people won’t go through unless the payoff is huge. The beans ended up being just ok. Maybe you can tell me where I went wrong?
I soaked a pound of an heirloom bean I found called “Yellow Indian Woman” in a bowl of water for about 8 hours in the fridge. Then I drained them, and put them in a pot with more water, some ground black pepper, a bay leaf, and a whole onion, cut into eighths, and boiled them, covered, for an hour. I drained off all the remaining water, but I reserved it, and added back 12 ounces, along with a half a cup of brown sugar, a half a cup of maple syrup, a half a cup of ketchup, a tablespoon of mustard powder, a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger, salt and pepper. I also sliced up 5 thick slices of bacon, stirring half the bacon throughout, and half scattered on the top. Then I tightly lidded the pan, and put it in a slow oven (250°) for 6 hours.
I probably should have checked it towards the end, because the liquid was pretty much gone after 6 hours, and I probably could have improved the consistency by adding in some of the reserved cooking liquid from before.
They had good flavor — no complaints about that. And they made the apartment smell good. They tasted great on the side of a couple of trout fillets that I pan fried in butter, too. I just think they didn’t taste any better than a $2 tin of beans from the grocery store, is all. Ingredient list after the break.
1 pound dry beans
2 quarts water
1 large yellow onion, cut in eighths
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh pepper
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, cubed
Luisa has a recipe for “fake” baked beans that uses canned beans and takes less than an hour, and she claims her results were better than storebought, so I’ll give them a try.