Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Whether you want something for a Barbeque, Easter Brunch, or a cheap slow cooker meal, these beans are perfect. I started making them 14 years ago when we had a cupboard full of dried beans and I was not familiar with how to cook them or what else to use them for. Now all sorts of dried beans line the shelves of my pantry for soups, salads, casseroles, and anything you could do with canned beans.

1 pound dried pinto beans*
1 large onion
1/2 pound bacon**
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse beans well and discard any shrivled, discolored, or deformed beans. Add beans to a pressure cooker and cover with 6 cups of cold water. Seal cooker and place on medium heat. Cook for an additional 12 minutes once the pressure regulator rocks. Remove from heat and let pressure drop on its own. Drain (reserving liquid) and rinse well. Add beans to slow cooker. ***

Thinly slice the onion and cut slices into quarters. Saute in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat until golden brown. Add onions to slow cooker.

With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut bacon slices into 1/2" pieces. Cook over medium heat until fat has run off, drain on paper towels, and add to slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker and stir well to combine. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to make beans saucy. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Sample sauce and adjust salt/pepper/molasses/brown sugar to your personal taste.

NOTE: You MUST cook the beans before adding them to the slow cooker. Read more about why here.

* Or 4-15oz cans, skip the below instructions for cooking the beans
** Or 1 cup chopped ham, perfect for using up leftovers. Or 4 hotsdogs, cut into coin slices.
*** Or COLD WATER SOAK: Rinse beans and soak in 6 cups cold water for 8-12 hours. Drain and rinse beans, cover with 6 cups of hot water. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 hours, or until beans are tender and can be mashed between your fingers. 
Or HOT WATER SOAK: Rinse beans and add them to 6 cups boiling water. Boil 2-3 minutes, turn off and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse beans well. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour, or until beans are tender and can be mashed between your fingers.


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