Cold weather is fast approaching for us Northerners and I got me a hankering for homemade baked beans!
I love the sweet smell of maple and molasses wafting through the house, like a slow fire burning in the hearth.
The caramelizing of the beans, coupled with smooth straight Kentucky bourbon, gives this recipe a depth of flavour unmatched by any other.
The slow-cook produces a dish that’s deep in flavour, rich in colour, with the consistency of chocolate, and has a remarkable finish on the palate.
And there’s no meat, it’s completely vegan. It calls for a little bit of prep time, and a whole lot of wait time. Soak the beans, pour in a crock pot, add the liquid, stir, and let the magic happen.
BOURBON BAKED BEANS
Serves 8 bountiful bowls.
What you’ll need: medium size crock pot / mixing bowl / large pot for soaking in water
1 & 1/2 pounds northern beans (3/4 bag)
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 & 1/4 cups maple syrup
3/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dijon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fancy molasses
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
The beans need to soak for 12 hours and cook for 18, and there’s no way to rush this process, so planning and patience are your best friends.
Place beans in a large pot. Fill with cold water and soak for 12 hours.
Rinse and drain the beans in a colander and discard any bits of skin that may have separated. Pour the drained beans into the crock pot.
Whisk the ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour the liquid mixture over the beans. The liquid should rise above the beans, if not add water. Set the temperature on low and allow to cook for 18 hours.
Here’s where the planning comes in, so work your way backwards from when you want to serve them. Let’s say they’re for Sunday night’s dinner.
Start Saturday morning by soaking them for the day. Just before bedtime prepare the liquid mixture and set them to cook on low overnight.
In the morning, check to see if they have enough liquid covering the beans, if not add 1/2 cup of water. Now this is where the patience comes in due to the extraordinary wafting; but by 4:00 you’ll have created a chef d’oeuvre.
I didn’t make them for a specific meal so I let the beans soak overnight till noon the next day. That evening before bedtime, I added 1/2 cup of water, stirred the pot, and said good night. The next morning they were just gorgeous!
If you make a double batch, they freeze well in airtight containers.
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