Saturday, February 11, 2012

Smokey BBQ Slow Cooker Baked Beans

In the summer we decided to try making baked beans.  I came across this recipe and thought the combination of ingredients sounded really delicious!  We made it and really enjoyed it and decided to try it again this weekend.  The one thing that really drew me to this recipe is that it starts with dried beans.  I have nothing against canned beans, but I wanted a recipe that would allow us to build our own flavor without all the additives in canned beans.

Here is our take on the recipe that I linked to above:

Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Beans

1lb dried beans, soaked in about 3 times as much water overnight, then drained (we used a mix of kidney and pinto beans, and next time I would use smaller beans, as the kidney beans seemed to take FOREVER to cook)
14oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 diced onion
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1 scant tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp allspice
salt to taste (I added close to 1tsp because the chicken stock and tomatoes I used have little to no salt added)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound of bacon cooked and diced (we used turkey bacon the first time, and it was fine, this time we didn't do any meat, and it felt like it was lacking a little bit, next time I would like to try the pork hock that the original recipe calls for and try doing them in the oven)

Mix up sauce and spices and pour over beans, bacon and onion in the slow cooker.  We ended up cooking ours on low for about 4 hours then on high for another 3.5 hours.  When we were ready to eat the sauce was still a bit runny, so I scooped out some of the sauce and mixed it with a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch and poured it back in to thicken the sauce, and it worked perfectly.

We ate our supper and the beans were good, but still not as cooked as we like.  After supper I turned the slow cooker back on high for about 2 more hours.  I don't recall having this trouble with the kidney beans the first time we made this, but definitely next time we will stick with pinto or navy beans, which seemed to cook faster.

I really love the sauce that this recipe makes.  It may sound like an odd combination of ingredients, but the sauce that you end up with is a thick, dark, rich BBQ sauce.  It is sweet and tangy and the chipotle adds a nice bit of spicy kick.

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