03 July 2013

Crock Pot Gourmet: Baked Beans

Baked Black Beans with BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, potato salad & mixed veggies

'Tis the season for backyard barbeques!
We have cookouts in these summer months, so we won't have to heat our houses by turning on the ovens. Yet, one of the staple side dishes at any good barbeque is Baked Beans - which are often slow-cooked in the oven. But this is one dish that easily converts to Crock Pot Gourmet cooking. The low and slow cooking method was made for the crock pot!

You will need:
2 lb. dry beans *
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 Tbsp. salt
4 Tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 c. dark brown sugar

Wash the beans and soak overnight (at least 8 hours) in a large bowl or pot. Make sure to cover them with plenty of water to allow for the beans to expand to twice their size and still be covered. 

*Note: Most baked bean recipes use Navy beans or pinto beans as the base (I usually choose one of these myself), but I had black beans on hand this time around, and the result was absolutely delicious! Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of beans. You may find a new favorite variation!

I like to put the dry beans into a large colander and put the colander into my big, metal mixing bowl, which I then fill with water. (This makes it easy to drain and rinse the beans in the morning, before cooking them.) But if you don't have a large mixing bowl that will fit your colander, you can soak the beans in your 7-quart crock pot instead.

 Drain and rinse the beans, then put half of the soaked beans into your 7-quart crock pot.

Add 1 chopped onion, salt, cinnamon, Italian seasoning and garlic.

Add 3/4 c. packed, dark brown sugar.

Spread the brown sugar evenly over the beans.

Then, add remaining beans and chopped onion. Pour in enough water to cover the beans, adding about 1/2 inch. (You don't want to fill the crock pot with water, as you won't be draining the liquid, and you're not trying to make soup here.)

Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or on high for 7-8 hours.

Serve with your favorite barbeque meal, like BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches (recipe coming July 18)

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