I know a few of you who got new slow cookers over the holidays and some of you at our Christmas table who wanted a copy of this recipe. These baked beans are for you. They are super easy to throw together last thing before going to bed and in the morning you will wake wondering what the amazing smell in your apartment is.
My family has always eaten baked beans on Christmas since my mother was a young girl. The story is, one year my grandfather decreed they should have a proper filling nutritious breakfast on Christmas, grilled steaks, baked beans and broiled English muffins with butter. For half a century or so.
Last year was the fist year I succeeded in adding vegetables to the table! Now we include vegetable laden frittatas which make everyone from the gourmands to the vegetarians satisfied.
Making your own baked beans costs just pennies and ingredients which are probably in your pantry. And unlike prepared or canned ones you will know just what's in them, no preservatives, no mystery. Just a little planning ahead.
This recipe is for 1 pound of beans. Easily doubled if you are feeding a crowd and your cooker can handle the size.
Soak 1 pound of navy beans. They are the little white ones that look like this. This is the actual brand I used, just toss the "ham flavor packet" into the garbage, ok!
Instead of industrial "ham flavor" we can use real ham! Bacon, ham, or maybe you are like me and have chunks of leftover fatty ham rind in the freezer from Easter.
Cook the pork product of your choice in a small skillet on medium low heat. Dice one yellow onion and add it to the ham in the pan. Cook this on medium low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onion is softened and the ham is sizzling deglaze the pan with 3 tablespoons of whiskey. It will sizzle, cook off the whiskey. Set the ham and onion aside while the beans are arranged.
Measure the water, molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste, salt and spices into the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Drain the beans of their soaking water. Stir in the beans. Spoon the onion and fatty ham on top of the beans, don't stir this in, it will act as a layer to help the beans not dry out during cooking.
Turn the cooker on high, go to bed, wake up 7 hours later to glorious smells. (If you have longer like 9 or 10 hours set the cooker to low.
Stir 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the beans, this gives it a great bite. Taste them and add more salt or sugar as you desire, but they should be pretty perfect at this point! Serve hot.
At Christmas we serve ours from a bean pot which is rhrumored to be my great great grandmothers. It might be true.
- 1 lb dry navy beans. (Soaked)
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 strips bacon or equivelnt ham product
- 3 Tablespoons bourbon
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 can of tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2-3 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
(If you want to make these vegetarian, replace the bacon with coconut oil.)