Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baked Beans

Last night, i got a craving for something i have not had in a long time: my Mom's baked beans. Yummy! She made them often when we were kids, i suppose probably because it was a cheap meal. My theory was that I could throw them in my crock pot before i left for work, and run home on my lunch and grab a bit for dinner; like i did when i made chili a few weeks ago.  I remember it took all day for Mom to make them, to. But not all day all day, like mine did today; i ended up having dinner at Subway and am going to have beans for dinner tomorrow.

First thing i did was call Mom for her recipe. She gave me the following list of ingredients: Molasses, Brown sugar, 1 tsp dried mustard, water, onion, bacon, salt, pepper and a bit of ketchup. No measurements, and i did not think to ask.

The first thing i did after hanging up from Mom was to put a cup of dried beans onto soak in 3 cups water.

While they soaked, i slept. This morning, i boiled them in fresh water, for about 30 minutes. When they were cooked to my satisfaction, i threw them in my crock-pot with a chopped onion and started mixing my Mom's list of ingredients together.

Looks kind of nasty, but it turned out alright. Into my bowl, i put in one very heaping Tbsp of molasses; it was cold and kind of came out in one big glop. I think it was about a quarter cup. A squirt each of honey mustard and regular mustard; since i had no dried. A squirt of ketchup, about 2 Tbsp brown sugar and a sprinkle of crushed chillies. To the crock pot i added a garlic clove and the water. No how much? I went with 2 cups, it just nicely covered the beans. This is where i think i went wrong. :-)

I added my mix pictured above into my water, stirred it up a bit and threw it on high while i got ready to go to work, which was about an hour. At 10:30 i turned it down to low and left. When i got home on my lunch, about 4 hours later, it looked more like bean soup than baked beans. Mom's beans were thick, like chili. Mine was super watery. I decided to get Subway and hopefully they would be ready for tomorrow.

I got home from work again at about 7:30, and it still looked exactly the same, except the onions looked cooked. Grr. I mixed about 1/8 cup of water and a Tbsp of flour, and stirred that in to make it thicken. Back on High. At about 9, it still looked the same, so i tossed those puppies into a pot on the stove, added more flour and water and boiled the crap out of it for 15 minutes.

And because i was busy looking at a new cook book, i forgot to stir it, and those beans stuck to the bottom of the pot like glue! Oops.

This process seemed to boil it down a bit, it was defiantly thicker. I could see the 'high tide line' from where i had started boiling until when i had finished; it had gone down about an inch. Back into the crock-pot for an hour on High.

So, at about 10:15; i checked my masterpiece. It is still not as thick as i would have liked it, but maybe if i let it cool and refrigerate, maybe the poor beans will soak some more up. So 12 + hours later, i have baked beans that sort of taste like Mom's, but not quite. Maybe because I skipped the bacon, as it is not something i usually have on hand and i am not buying a whole package for one slice (way to expensive!)

I remember once when i was a teenager, Mom had told me she got her recipe from her Dad. I had asked her for the recipe soon after, but she basically told me no, there was no reason to give it to me. I think if i keep experimenting, i will get it someday. My next trial will be cutting the water down to 1 cup!! 


  1. Hey Cuz,
    When I first tried baked beans I ended up with something like lumpy year old concrete. Since then I have adapted my own recipe - based it on my Mothers recipe who got it from Grampa Crawford too. Next time I make some I'll send some your way.


  2. The bacon is definitely a key part - if you can't get it, go to the butcher shop and ask for a really fatty pork chop and cut some of the fat off to throw in the beans. also you then have a lean porkchop for another meal

  3. sounds odd, but interesting. I will have to try it next time, thanks!