Friday, August 29, 2008

Spicy Baked Beans From Scratch

Sure, you can grab a can of baked beans and a can opener and be done with it, but why not take the time to make baked beans from scratch, without all those chemicals found in commercial brands and with better flavor? Simply use your crock pot and you'll be amazed at how little effort is involved. It's best if you simmer the beans and cook in the crock pot on low the night before, but you can also prepare this recipe the morning of your meal if you start early enough and set the crock pot on high. This recipe assumes you have a 3 1/2 or 4 quart crock pot, and serves 6 to 8 people. If your crock pot holds 5 or 6 quarts, simply double all the ingredients.

1 lb dry pinto beans, great northern beans or navy beans
1 quart cold water
1 cup chopped sweet onion (you can use yellow or white if sweet onions are not available)
1/4 lb thick-cut bacon (all natural if available), cut into 1" pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced jalapeno peppers (fresh or canned/jar)
1 cup water
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Pick over and rinse the beans. Place in a large pot or Dutch oven with 1 quart cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 2 hrs or until the beans are tender. While the beans are simmering, cook the bacon and chopped onion in a skillet until the bacon is thoroughly cooked and the onion is at least translucent. Remove the bacon and onions from the skillet and set on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the excess grease. Once the beans are tender, drain the beans and place in the crock pot. Add the onions, bacon and remaining ingredients, stir, and cover. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours (overnight), or cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. Stir before serving.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you're feeding folks who like to add hot sauce to their baked beans, I recommend Samson's Sauce or Durn Good Hot Sauce for mild to medium heat, and Blue's Habanero Reserve Hot Sauce for folks who want a medium to hot burn. For garlic fans, you can't go wrong with Burning Asphalt Sweet & Hot Garlic Sauce, with a medium to hot burn. And for serious chileheads or fearless eaters, my recommendation is Conquering Lion Hickory-Smoked Habanero Mango Hot Sauce.

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