Baked beans are a favorite when it comes to barbecues and picnics. They make a great side dish in the middle of winter when looking for comfort food that will warm everyone up and hold the cold at bay. When it is time for a pot luck supper or a celebration, fire up the crock pot all day and bring it to the event. Plug it in, set it on warm, and there will only be one dish to clean at the end of the function.
There are many brands of baked beans available at the supermarket but they can really be spiced up when made at home in the crock pot. Everything seems to taste better when cooked in a slow cooker, simmering for many hours and really bringing out the flavor. The best part is the fact that it’s simple. All ingredients can be tossed in the pot the night before, set on low, and the finished dish will be ready at the end of the day. Baked beans can even be considered the main part of the meal when the recipe is hearty.
Make Baked Beans from Scratch
There are many recipes from scratch and it really is up to individual preferences on what to include. Food.com offers one recipe which includes dried navy beans, brown sugar, molasses, onion, bacon, tomato paste, salt, dry mustard, and water. The beans need to be soaked the night before and then boiled. Everything is then added to the crock pot and it’s time to let it simmer. Other varieties include salt pork, barbecue sauce, or kielbasa mixed in with the beans to enhance the flavor.
When more meat is added, the dish can become like a chili that can be the main course. Howsweeteats.com offers a bacon bourbon baked bean recipe that includes the standard ingredients above as well as barbecue sauce, bourbon, and worcestershire sauce. While navy beans are the most common choice for baked beans, other types of beans will work as well to change the flavor and texture. Pinto beans and red kidney beans are also popular choices. The kitchn.com gives a host of recipes for baked beans that really add a new spin to the tried and true. One recipe is a tomato and herb white bean version while another offering is Borlotti beans in tomato sauce. See the following youtube video for an easy baked bean recipe that will leads the viewer through every step of the process with clear instructions:
Using Baked Beans from the Can
For those who do not want to worry about preparing beans overnight, using canned beans from the store is another option. Any brand of baked beans can be used, from the cheapest to the most expensive. When other ingredients are added, it can really dress up the canned variety to create an excellent offering. Grandma Brown’s Home Baked Beans are a recommended choice as a base in the crock pot. They are very bland to begin with, making it easy to add numerous ingredients that will create a unique flavor. All of the additions for baked beans from scratch can be added here as well. Barbecue sauce or brown sugar and molasses make it really tasty.
Tomato sauce or paste can be used to create baked beans that have more of an Italian flavor. Bacon can be added in different forms, such as bacon bits or raw bacon strips that are added in at the beginning of the day. The fat from the raw bacon will really add a nice flavor as it cooks throughout the day, seeping into the rest of the ingredients. Sausage, kielbasa, and ground beef can be tossed in with the sauce and onions to make a thick, delicious blend that is to die for. It is really fun to experiment with a crocked pot and baked beans. The recipe can change every time, a mystery that everyone looks forward to as they try and figure out what new addition has been added to the mix. Whip up a batch of corn bread, cook a meat of choice on the grill, and a quick, easy meal is ready that can feed a large army.