One of my Dad’s staple dinners was beans and wieners on toast. To this day, it is still one of my fall/winter favourite meals. Of course, when my dad talked about beans, he also taught us the beans song:
Beans, beans the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans at every meal!
I still sing that song in my head every time I make beans. I am pretty sure that it is going to be completely engrained in my brain due to learning it at such a young age. If I one day lose all my memories and make no sense, I can almost guarantee that I will still be able to sing that song!
Anyways, to get into the actual post, I have been searching for a more flavourful pot of beans than the canned beans you can buy in the grocery store. They just don’t seem to taste like I remember them from when I was a kid. So I decided to try out a few recipes. I couldn’t find one that I liked, so I created my own, using a blend of about 4 other recipes.
I used our tomatoes and onions from our garden to make the ketchup and BBQ sauce for this recipe. The links are listed below if you would like to do the same. Unfortunately, our garlic was not ready, so it was not used in this recipe. I am looking forward to making it again in the fall when our garlic is fresh from the garden.
The beans that I came up with are very flavourful, reminding me of the beans of my childhood, but also with some new flavours that as an adult I appreciate. I don’t like overly sweet beans, so if you do, consider adding some brown sugar or maple syrup to this recipe.
Let’s get to it. You will need:
- 1 lb of dry beans (your choice, I used a blend of navy & romano beans) OR 2 cans of beans
- 1 medium onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Additional water may be needed
- 3 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 6-8 slices of bacon, chopped and crisped – reserve grease for in the beans
Note: This can be made vegan/vegetarian, if you omit the bacon & grease and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- If using dried beans, soak for at least 24 hours in a large bowl with at least 2 inches of water above the beans. If using canned beans, skip to step 3.
- Drain your beans – can reserve the “bean water” in case additional fluids are needed.
- Fry your bacon bits in a pan, place in container in fridge until later. Pour a small amount of the grease (approx. 1 tbsp) in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Add onions and garlic in with the bacon grease and let simmer for approx. 5 minutes on high heat with the lid on – no need to stir, just let them get warm & absorb some of that bacon flavour.
- Add the beans, and all other ingredients to the crockpot with the exception of the bacon.
- Leave the beans on high heat, with the lid slightly askew to simmer for 6-8 hours.
- Around the 6 hour mark, check to ensure there is still enough liquids that the beans are not baking onto the bottom of the crockpot. If you are planning to do these while you are at work for the day, do not leave the lid askew, just leave it on high heat with the lid on.
- Depending on your crockpot, the sauce/liquids may reduce quickly, or still be soup-like at the end of 8 hours. If your crockpot works well, then your beans should be cooked & have a nice thickened sauce. My sauce was still a little runny for my liking, so I transferred the beans to a pot to finish them off on the stove and get the sauce a little thicker.
- Add your bacon about 15 minutes before serving to warm up in the beans.
- Serve and enjoy!
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