Friday, April 12, 2013

Baked Beans

This is the easiest recipe for baked beans. If you’ve never made them before, or even if you have, this recipe is so good, you’ll get compliments for it, believe me. I believe that a big part of the reason why these are so good is because the recipe is simple. Most of my cooking follows the “KISS” method, short for Keep It Simple, Stupid. The minute you start throwing too many flavors together or try to make things complicated, that’s when things start to fall apart and the recipe will be a bust.

By the way, if you’re thinking of cutting down on fat and want to leave out the salt pork or bacon, don’t. Been there, done that, and it is not worth what you lose in taste. Maybe use a little less salt pork or bacon, or even better, cut down on the fat in the rest of the meal somehow. But do not take the fat totally out of this recipe.

So, let’s get cooking!

You’ll need to soften the navy beans, and you can do this one of two ways. The first is to soak the beans overnight, if you plan to cook them all day in a lower heat oven the next day for supper. The other way is to bring the beans to boil in 6-7 c. water for 2 minutes, turn off the heat, and set covered for an hour.

I set mine to soak the night before with 7 cups of water.

The next morning, this is how they looked, having absorbed water and therefore softened to a degree.

Chop the onion. Cut up the salt pork or bacon. I used bacon this time. I buy my bacon for cooking in a bulk package of 3 lbs. bacon ends and pieces. It costs me $6.98 at Wal-Mart and I get seven meals out of it. I split them up, package in ziploc sandwich bags, and freeze for use in meals, each approximately a half pound each.

Now, you’re going to layer all the ingredients in the bean pot, or a casserole dish if you don’t have a bean pot. I have my grandmother’s, which was her mother’s or grandmother’s. I’m not sure which, but at any rate, it’s old and means a lot to me.

Start by scooping beans out of the water they’ve been soaking in, with a slotted spoon, about three full spoonfuls, into the bean pot. Add 1/3 of the chopped onion and 1/3 of the sliced salt pork or bacon.

Repeat two more times, ending with salt pork or bacon. Add the brown sugar and molasses. Pour in the water from the previously soaking beans into the bean pot, almost up to the top.

Cover and put into a 325° oven for approximately 6 hours. Stir at least every hour, adding water as needed, from the bean water first and then just from the tap. For the last 2 hours, bake uncovered to brown. The juice will also thicken up. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Baked Beans

1 bag dry navy beans
1 large onion
½ lb. salt pork or bacon
3 Tbl. brown sugar
6 Tbl. molasses

*Note: You can also slow cook these through the night, setting the oven at 300°, as long as you know you'll be getting up at least 2 or 3 times during the night to stir.and add water. And just FYI, the crock pot is not a good idea for this dish.

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