Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baked Beans Part 2

Swift on the heels of my first foray into bean baking I made another attempt. This time I chose to use different beans, a different recipe and a different technique. The Dutch oven was in need of reseasoning yet again before I could use it but the house was shut up tight due to the onset of winter. Without adequate ventilation for that smoky process I decided to turn to the programmable slow cooker instead.

The beans in this batch were Lina Cisco Bird Egg that I had grown and harvested fresh rather than dried. This method worked well because I could pick and shell large or small amounts and just keep adding them to the zip-top bags in the freezer.

Since the beans weren't dried I skipped soaking them and tossed them directly into the cooker. The recipe I used was "Classic Baked Beans" from "The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook" by Rachel Rappaport. As with many slow cooker recipes, the ingredients were all just dumped in together. The only other cooking needed was frying the bacon. I used the real thing this time since the whole recipe only called for two slices.

The essential onion and garlic were added. And where the recipe called for "spicy mustard" I used a mixture of horseradish bratwurst mustard and jalapeno mustard.

Salt, pepper, molasses, brown sugar, water, chili sauce and cloves rounded out the ingredient list. Though I set out to follow the recipe exactly, I forgot to add the cloves. The chili sauce I purchased specifically to make this dish is practically indistinguishable from ketchup.

Ew. That's not too appetizing. Let's add the water and give it all a stir. Now it looks more like food.

Knowing the shell beans would probably take less time to cook than soaked dried beans I set the cooker for six hours rather than the eight to ten the recipe called for.

As it turned out, the beans were sufficiently cooked in only four hours--If I remember correctly. I either didn't make a note of the cooking time or lost it. I cooled them and stuck them in the refrigerator. A few nights later reheated some on the stovetop to serve with dinner.

We served the beans with scrumptious pork chops topped with Door County cherry salsa and a side of coleslaw. Yum!

The flavor was smoky and rich thanks to the bacon and again, not too sweet. However, the slightly metallic undertone was there again! In the previous batch I had blamed it on the cast iron Dutch oven. Now I'm not so sure. the current suspect is the fancy schmancy organic molasses I used in both batches. I'm half tempted to try a different brand--probably the classic standby my mother uses. Then I'd just have to figure out what to do to get rid of an almost full jar of expensive organic molasses! I seem to remember my father using it as a supplement to feed cattle. Maybe this will be my excuse to get a nice little Jersey cow for the back yard...

3 Responses:

Michigoose said...

Try molasses cookies. :) Is it sulfured?

Shady Character said...

Nope, unsulphured. Next batch I may just forgo the molasses entirely. When I taste it by itself it doesn't quite have the flavor I'm disliking in the finished product, but it's "sort of there." I wonder if it's combining with something else.

mothmark6 said...

my approach:
1. open cupboard & remove can with picture of cooked beans
2. open can with hand-crank can opener
3. use hand or stick to extract most contents into saucepan
4. put saucepan on stove & turn temp dial on stove to one of the middle or higher numbers
5. begin reading the comics section of newspaper
6. carry saucepan to table & place on sports section
7. using hand, hunk of bread or any reasonably clean looking spoon, transfer saucepan contents to mouth while finishing the comics section
8. transfer saucepan to top of other things in area of sink; roll up sports section & place in recycling
... I'll try this same approach & add molasses!