Rootin’ Tootin’ Slow Cooked Baked Beans

Ever wonder if there is something less strangely gelatinous and more toothsome than beans from a can? There IS! With a little patience, you can make baked beans from scratch. It isn’t fast, but it is so much better than beans from a can that you’ll wonder why you never tried it before.

The first rule of show business is to leave the audience wanting more. That’s why you only measure out 2 cups of dry navy beans. After all, it is better to be begged for an encore than to hear, “Beans AGAIN?”

Ok, so I used a little more than 2 cups.

Ok, so I used a little more than 2 cups.

They have to take a shower.

in the shower

Now it’s time for a swim. 1 part beans, 3 parts water. One dutch oven.

in a dutch oven

Put a lid on the dutch oven and bring the beans to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Take them off the heat and leave the lid on – they need to stew for an hour in the hot liquid.

One hour later, when you take the lid off, HOLD THY NOSE. It reeks like rotten cabbages. Strangely, it is supposed to. Drain the water. Time for another shower.

in the shower

Let them drip-dry in the sink for now.

In a large slow-cooker, swirl a small amount of olive oil around the bottom so nothing sticks.

Now it is time to add flavour. Put a healthy dose of ground black pepper in the pot, followed by a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, a Tbsp of Dijon mustard, a tsp of white vinegar and 3/4 cup of root beer syrup. If you want to do old school, do 1 cup of ketchup and 1/2 cup of molasses instead of the tomatoes and syrup (molasses is really only there for sugar and colour). I dare you to try the root beer syrup though – it’s zingy!

Now the beans get thrown in.

The last part is the bacon and onions.

This looks weird, I know. Sweet Baboo and I will eat a whole package of bacon at a time if left to our own devices. In an effort to be more healthy, I buy a larder of bacon, cut it into 12 somewhat equal portions, wrap them and freeze them. Each portion is roughly equal to 2 slices and that gives good bacon flavour to a dish. Sweet Baboo asked for lots of bacon in the beans, so I used 3 packages or 6 slices.

This looks weird, I know. Sweet Baboo and I will eat a whole package of bacon at a time if left to our own devices. In an effort to be more healthy, I buy a larder of bacon, cut it into 12 somewhat equal portions, wrap them and freeze them. Each portion is roughly equal to 2 slices and that gives good bacon flavour to a dish. Sweet Baboo asked for lots of bacon in the beans, so I used 3 packages or 6 slices.

Dice the onions. Slice the bacon into lardons. It is easier to slice frozen bacon – that’s how my whole system came about. That, and it’s harder to fry it all on a whim from frozen. 🙂

bacons and onions

Put a small amount of water in a frying pan – enough to cover the bottom. Lay the frozen lardons on their sides. The water will evaporate quickly but it also makes the bacon lie flat in the pan so that it cooks evenly, browning each piece entirely. Try it. You’ll see.

lardons on their sides

One minute cooking in water and the slices come apart easily.

One minute cooking in water and the slices come apart easily.

In no time at all, you get this:

Bacon-y goodness. YUM!

Bacon-y goodness. YUM!

Throw the bacon and onion into the slow cooker and mix everything together well.

combined in slow cooker

With the lid on, set the slow cooker on high for 6 hours. The house smelled so good when this was cooking! I kept wanting to lift the lid and try it! Resist the urge – good things come to those who wait.

Here’s the end product:

finished product

They aren’t covered in gooey starch and there are chunks of bacon and tomato dispersed everywhere amongst tender beans. Just looking at them makes me hungry for more.

Advertisements

One thought on “Rootin’ Tootin’ Slow Cooked Baked Beans

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s