Sunday, 29 August 2010

Beans, beans, the magical fruit*...

Cooking is one of the skills I possess that I actually have some confidence in. So, when I utterly messed up making Boston Baked Beans the first time I was at once angry, embarrassed and annoyed. I knew I must make amends. Here's the long anticipated "Boston Baked Beans, the Redux". (OK, I'm probably the only one who's anticipated this for a long time but let's face it: the first run was such a stunning disaster that I've been itching to redeem myself in the baked bean world.)

I now proudly present to you.... Home-made vegan Boston/New England style Baked Beans!

Don't they look a LOT better than the previous attempt?!

I think so, too! And I can honestly tell you that the first attempt was utterly inedible so to say that these little beauties taste "better" is, quite honestly, a severe understatement.

These beans are just the right amount of smoke flavour (without the bacon/pork), molasses and mustard to set my little New England heart a flutter. (Even MrB thinks they're good and he didn't grow up with these in his staple diet.)

Without further ado I present...

Vegan New England-style Baked Beans
Serves approximately 16 (portions can be frozen. I halved the recipe for my use)

2 pounds white beans (northern or navy beans - I used Haricot)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard or 5 teaspoons prepared mustard (I used 1 tablespoon of yellow "American" mustard)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar (optional, if you like your beans sweet)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
For both preparation methods:
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of tap water (make sure you soak in at least four times more water by volume than beans). If you don't have the time or patience to soak your beans overnight you can bring the beans to a boil on the stove, cover and allow to sit for about two hours. This will reduce the cooking time significantly but it is still a crucial part of the preparation.

If you opted to soak your beans you must now boil your beans for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Drain off any soaking/cooking water.

Crock-pot method: Mix all ingredients in your crock-pot and add the beans. Cover with at least enough
hot water to cover the beans completely. (This is what the recipe I used said to do so I didn't measure the water. I also then had to add more water later in the cooking process. If you do this, make sure you use freshly boiled water or else it will lower the cooking temperature of your crock-pot and add significantly to the overall cooking time. When I make these again, I will add enough water to cover the beans and so that the water level is half-again as high. Or I'll chicken out, add the amount at the beginning and just check about half way through the cooking like I did last time.)

Put the lid on the Crock Pot after you’ve mixed everything up in it, and cook it on High for about 3 or 4 hours, or on Low for 8 to 10 hours (when it comes to crock-pot cooking I'm all about Low and Slow). I positioned a folded dish towel on top of the lid of the crock-pot to help keep the heat in while the beans were cooking to ensure they would, indeed, cook. The dish towel helps maintain a temperature hot enough to just barely simmer the beans.)

If you don't want to cook your beans in a crock-pot you can use this method...

Oven method:
In a very large casserole (4 quart) mix the beans with all of the above ingredients. Add enough hot water to barely come to the top of the beans. Put a lid on the casserole, or tin foil. Bake the beans at 300°F (
for about 5 to 7 hours.

The cooked beans may be frozen in 2-cup portions to substitute for canned baked beans or canned pork’n'beans in any recipe. They make a good main dish, or a side dish for a large crowd.

*If you grew up in North America, as I did, chances are you're aware of the little ditty that I borrowed today's post title from. If not; I'm sorry to have introduced you to such immaturity. In any event; feel free to remind me that I have the brain of a seven year old, though I must confess that I am well aware of this fact. *grin*

1 comment:

  1. we have a similar ditty here, "beans, beans, good for your heart.. the more you eat the more you......" ;)