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Crock It! Baked Beans
When summer shows up in Verona, I very quickly remembered why I avoid turning on my oven until late September. While inevitable when it comes to making a pie, I do try to avoid it as much a as possible until things cool off. For the most part, this is not an issue, but one of my favorite summer foods is homemade baked beans. I have fond memories of flicking on the oven light and watching my mother’s bean pot slowly cook beans that had already been soaked, flavored and would ultimately be a delicious compliment to any summer meal.
Back to the oven. Even on low, it just adds too much heat to my small kitchen. And yet, I was lucky enough to find a solution this spring. Well, the solution actually found me.
I was asked by Joanne Thimothe, proprietor of Neliquick Beans, to come up with some recipes using their beans. Thimothe had seen my Crock It! recipes and specifically wanted some slow cooker recipes. She sent me the beans at no charge. Always up for a challenge, and an experiment, I set to work.
Different from regular dried beans, these beans come in a package of ground beans combined with whole beans for faster cooking. Great on the stove for a quick recipe but a bit different with the slow cooker. I wouldn’t need hours and hours of slow cooking, just a few. Given busy days with sports, school projects, and anything else life threw my way, this was a good thing. Also, I like the idea of being able to use black beans instead of white beans, just for a little twist. So, allowing for the different consistency of the Neliquick beans and reverting to my favorite source for recipes, America’s Test Kitchen, I was able to come up with what ended up being my family’s favorite recipe of the three I created. With plenty of time left for summer barbeques, this side dish is sure to be a hit and it won’t heat up your kitchen any more than Mother Nature has already.
Crock It! Baked Beans
1/2 cup red onion, diced small
4 pieces of really good thick sliced bacon cut about 1/2″ wide
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon dried mustard
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 cup Neliquick black beans**
3 cups water
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
In a medium sized bowl, mix together molasses, brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, cook bacon and red onion until bacon is just crispy and onion is soft. About 10 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, place bacon and onion mixture in slow cooker, leaving most of the bacon grease behind in the pan.
Add molasses mixture, Neliquick beans and black beans to slow cooker and stir everything together.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Stir once or twice while cooking to keep beans around the edge from burning.
Notes from my experience:
The biggest risk with this recipe is the edges of the slow cooker getting hot, so watch it closely.
Really good bacon is definitely a key to the success of flavor here, so make sure it’s thick cut and has a good smoky flavor.
** Neliquick beans can be purchased online only through the Neliquick website.
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