Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Summer Food: Basic Baked Beans

Yeah yeah, I know-you could pick up a few cans of this stuff for nothing at the store and save yourself the hassle....but do you really think that hunk of blubber in the can really passes for pork? Wouldn't you rather know what really goes into this summertime classic?--you know, just in case the zombie apocalypse makes getting to the store difficult.

Besides that, I know I have mommy readers who are WIC mommies and now have a stockpile of monthly bean rations in the pantry with no idea what to do with them next. Seriously, how much bean salad and soup can you really eat?

beans-soaked, rinsed,
simmered and drained
They lose some of their
color at this point.
This is a one-bag recipe, using one pound of dried small red beans (yes, that's what they are called).  You can also use pinto beans but I prefer the red beans (not kidneys).

This will give you enough for at least 10 servings-in other words, enough to take to the next family picnic or Sunday school cookout without breaking the bank....and somebody always brings a pot of beans so why can't it be you this time?

Soak your bag of red beans over night in cool water in a large bowl. 8 hours later or in the morning, drain off that water and rinse off the beans in fresh cool water.  Place the beans in a large pot and cover with more cool water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat once the water boils so the beans can simmer until they are soft enough to smoosh (* technical term). Drain off the water at this point.

Now, you can cook your beans in the oven or in a crock pot at this point. I like the crock pot because then I really don't have to think about them and it's nigh on impossible to burn them but if your party is in a couple of hours and you need to get this show on the road, then pick out a large casserole dish with a lid and preheat your oven to 350.

You will need the following staples to make some classic baked beans (*note: all measurements are approximate since it's based on preference)

1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups  brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
yellow mustard (less of this than of the ketchup-just a decent squirt)
salt and pepper
I also like a dash of bbq sauce in mine as well.

You can also add in a package of sausages, chopped hotdogs, mini weenies or crumbled bacon. The last time I made this, I added a package of stadium brats and we had a full meal in one pot.

In the crock pot, put on high for 3-4 hours. In the oven, one or two, stirring either occasionally. Taste the beans to see if the flavors need to be adjusted. For instance, I felt mine needed closer to 2 cups of brown sugar in the end and less mustard.

just beginning to cook

And now you know a classic summer dish and a great way to get your kids to eat beans...go ahead-teach them "the song."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny to read this post. Chris just asked me at the grocery store if the dry beans were better than canned. I said, "How would I know, but I'm guessing yeppers!"