Baked beans are the ultimate slow cooked one dish meal. Baked beans were traditionally served on Mondays, because this dinner could simmer on the stove while the lady of the house did the family's washing, normally an all day chore. She would start the beans in the morning, and by evening they would be ready to serve. Busy householders today can have the same advantage; these make a great weekend supper on those days when the honey-do list is overflowing.
The traditional baked bean casserole is flavored with pork and molasses; substituting honey for the molasses adds a distinctive sweet flavor and eliminates the sulphurous aftertaste that is characteristic of molasses. This recipe is also vegetarian-friendly, substituting olive oil for the fat source that normally is provided by salt pork.
Honey baked beans
2 c. dried navy beans, or 1 c. navy and 1 c. pinto beans
3/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. honey
1 c. water
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
Soak dried beans in 6 cups of water for at least eight hours or overnight. Drain excess water from beans.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Fill with soaked beans.
Mix together ketchup, honey, water, spices and diced onion. Pour over beans and stir in. Cover casserole dish and bake for 4 - 5 hours, stirring every 2 hours or so. Add more liquid during cooking if needed. Serves 4 - 6.
Place a 1/4 inch slice of ginger root or a few drops of ginger oil in the water used to soak the beans. Ginger is noted for its ability to sooth tummy aches, and the ginger oil seems to reduce the "toot factor" in the beans.
If a meat version is preferred, eliminate the olive oil, add 6 strips of bacon that have been browned slightly or 1 cup of browned ground pork sausage to beans.
This recipe can be prepared using a slow cooker rather than baking in the oven. Cooking time may have to be extended to 8 hours, depending on the heat settings available on the slow cooker.