Thursday, March 8, 2012

Come & See Me Cook in May

For any of you that might be in Olympia, Wa. this coming May, I will be teaching an English Tea Class at the Bayview School of Cooking May 9.  I'm currently working on several recipes for the class & it would be wonderful to see some friendly faces there.  Call the school directly at 360-754-1448.  It costs $45 to attend the class, but if you bring a friend it's $80 for both of you. It sounds like it's starting to fill up, so if you want to come, sign up sooner rather than later.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baked Beans from Dried Beans

I made baked beans from scratch for the first time this week & they turned out great!

For this recipe you will need:

1 LB dried navy beans
1/2 of a med size onion (I will probably use a whole onion in my next batch)
Approx. 1/2 LB of Black Pepper Bacon Ends, you can also use a nice lean bacon with the excess fat trimmed off of it.  See your local butcher to find out if they sell the ends. They usually are priced less per pound.
3/4 C. Packed Light Brown Sugar (or Dark Brown, see below)
1 C. Ketchup
1 C. BBQ Sauce (I used a darker, Kansas City style)
2 Tbsp. Whole Seed Mustard, basically I used a nicer mustard, not the yellow kind
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, I like a little extra tang, if you don't then you won't need this.
1/2 C. Cooking Liquid from the beans

I cooked a 1 LB bag of navy beans in salted water over low heat for a couple of hours and then allowed it to cool slightly and refrigerated them overnight in the pan.  I used enough water to cover the beans & kept adding water if the level got too low.  When I started the beans on the heat, I did bring the pan to a boil first, and then reduced the heat to low.  The picture above is what they looked like in the morning when I put them back on the stove to warm up while I got the other parts of the beans ready to bake.

I really didn't want raw or super crunchy onion with my beans, so I put them in a saute pan with a little olive oil on the stove first over a medium to medium high temperature.

Here are my Black Pepper Bacon Ends that I've diced up & removed the fattiest parts from.  It looks almost like ham, doesn't it?  It was GOOD!  Like I said above, check with your local butcher to see if they sell these in your area.  Ours sells them for a price that is more than half off per pound than the regular bacon & I found this batch to be very meaty, which was really nice.

Drain your beans (reserving some of the liquid to cook with), and then place them in an oven safe container.  Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Here are my onions after about 10 minutes or so.  I didn't intentionally try to brown them, I just got busy with the bacon ends.  So, at this point I'm adding in the bacon ends.

 I wanted to go ahead & get out some of the excess liquid from the meat & brown it up a little.

Another perk of cooking the onions/meat on the stove ahead of time was that I could go ahead & melt my sugar before putting it in the oven.  This just gives it a smoother texture.  Once the sugar melted, everything went in with the beans.

I added all of the other ingredients listed above, along with some salt & pepper, gave it a stir & then let it bake for 2 & 1/2 hours or so.  I did stir it a couple of times at the beginning.  The above picture is what it looked like after about a half hour of cooking, and the bottom picture is what they looked like when they finished.

Did I mention that they turned out really good?  The beans were so nice and tender, and all of the flavors did come together nicely.  I did taste them again about a half hour before taking them out of the oven just to see if I needed to add anything else, and I did add a touch more salt & vinegar & an extra squirt of ketchup.  If you like them sweeter, go ahead & add a little more brown sugar, or use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar for more of a molasses sweetness.  Hmmm.  I may have to try that next time. 

Hope you all enjoy these as much as we did.