My husband loves baked beans. I do not. Somehow, we have survived almost 7 years of marriage in spite of this disagreement. They say opposites attract, right?
I recently found out, however, that our difference of opinion on the subject of baked beans was taking a bit of a toll on my hubby. You see, since I don’t particularly care for baked beans, I never make them. Once I attempted to make them for him (a few years ago), but I was opposed to adding ketchup. I tried to substitute tomato paste (which, for those of you who are wondering, is not the same… not at all). I also cut a few corners. We ended up with chewy, tomato pasty, burnt baked beans. He wasn’t impressed.
The subject of baked beans came up again a few weeks ago at Easter dinner at my parents’ house. Somehow, my hubby and my dad started discussing the foods that they love but rarely get to eat. And, of course, baked beans were at the top of the list. My mom, who quickly ran to the pantry, found a can of baked beans and added them to our Easter basket so my hubby didn’t have to “suffer” without his baked beans. I felt bad, and promised to learn to make them.
About a week later, I attempted my first batch of baked beans… With ketchup. I made them in my slow cooker, but I underestimated how long it would take for the beans to cook. The beans were also somewhat watery, even though the flavor was pretty good. My hubby ate them… And they were better than my first attempt, but they still weren’t good.
So, last weekend, when we were having a picnic at our house, I decided I would make one more attempt at baked beans. This time, I was smart enough to make sure the beans were cooked and tender before I added them to the slow cooker. It was a success. Even my hubby approved. They passed his baked beans test.
I can’t promise that these are the best baked beans you’ll ever taste. But, they made my hubby happy. And, that’s what marriage is all about, right?
Makes 10 – 12 servings
- 1 pound dry navy beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
- 3/4 cup dark molasses
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
Soak the beans overnight in 8 cups of water. Rinse and drain the beans.
Transfer the beans to a large pot and add 8 cups of fresh water. Salt, if desired. Bring the beans to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender, but not mushy.
Drain the beans and transfer them to a slow cooker. Add the onion and bacon to the slow cooker.
Meanwhile, whisk together the molasses, ketchup, water, vinegar, and mustard. Pour over the beans, and stir to combine. Cover and slow cook on low for about 8 hours. For a thicker sauce, leave the lid off for the last hour or two.