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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Baked beans are a family favourite.  While many buy baked beans already made in cans then doctor them up, the best baked beans are made from scratch, cooked long and slow to develop their rich flavour.  Dried navy beans are normally used for baked beans.  These beans cost about $1.89 per 900 g package or about 90¢ per pound.  One pound of dried beans is 2 cups that will give a yield of 4 to 5 cups cooked beans depending on the type of beans.  This is the equivalent of about 2½ to 3 cans (398 ml/14 oz) of prepared baked beans.  As a cost comparison the dried beans come in at a third of the price or less of prepared baked beans and they are not difficult to make.  The nice thing about homemade is you control the flavour.

slow cooker baked beans
I made a batch of slow cooker baked beans a couple of days ago.  The slow cooker is an ideal choice for the long, slow cooking required for baked beans.  It does not add as much caramelization as oven baked or the smokiness of grilled baked but it does give quite favourable results.  The beans can cook all day without the worry of checking the outdoor grill.  A slow cooker is less expensive in terms of electricity usage than the standard sized oven. 

I used my smaller 2.5 quart Rival (model 5025) for the baked beans.  It was the perfect size although the recipe could have been increased by half without a problem with respect to volume.  I developed the recipe as the end result came to mind.  The flavour was quite good.  I think next time I will add just a little browning (caramel) to heighten the flavour and deepen the colour.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

2 c dried navy beans
1 bacon end (about 2-inch piece)
1 c ketchup
2 tbsp fancy molasses
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp dry onion flakes
 3-4 drops liquid smoke

Rinse the beans then cover with water and soak overnight or use the quick soak method.  Drain beans and pour into large saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook 1 hour until beans are tender.  Drain and pour into slow cooker.  Trim excess fat from bacon end.  Add remaining ingredients to beans, mixing well.  Set slow cooker to low.  Cook 4 to 5 hours.

3 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

When you say browning, caramel, do you mean the little squares like can be melted for caramel apples?

I imagine you don't mean that, but I am a novice.

I do intend to try this recipe in our small crockpot when we go to the farm.

And is that little sausages I see in the picture? Couldn't they go in with the beans, too?
Thank you! :)

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Linda :) Browning is a thick liquid caramel almost a syrup consistency. You can find it in with the seasonings usually around the salts, gravy mixes and bouillon. It is used to darken gravies while adding a bit of depth to the flavour. If you check the labels of some commercially canned bean you will see caramel as an ingredient. This is what they used. The brand I use is Grace

The little pieces of meat are from the bacon end. I don't see why you couldn't add sausage to baked beans if you wanted to though. That would give an interesting spin.

LindaG said...

Oh. Okay. Thank you kindly for the clarifications, GG. :)