Make These Baked Beans from Scratch and You’ll Never Look Back
Canned beans work in a pinch. They’re inexpensive and rich in protein. But the better option, if time allows, is to make beans from scratch — and with a slow cooker, there’s no need to monitor the stovetop, and little risk of over-cooking. From renowned Southern chef and slow cooker evangelist Hugh Acheson comes a recipe for Boston-style “baked” beans.
Published in his new cookbook, The Chef and the Slow Cooker, humble white beans are transformed into a sweet-savory side dish by the addition of rich molasses, thick-cut bacon, herbal thyme and tangy orange zest. It’s a dish that pairs well with quintessential winter meals (think braised meats) and can stand on its own when served with crusty bread.
Boston “Baked” Beans
8 to 12 as a side
1 pound dried white beans, such as navy beans
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
1 medium yellow onion, minced (to yield about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon minced orange zest
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1. Place the beans in a large bowl and add cold water to cover by 3 inches. Cover the bowl and soak the beans in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Drain the beans and place them in a slow cooker (minimum 4-quart capacity). Add 4 cups of broth, cover with the lid, and turn the cooker to the low setting.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the bacon and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, dry mustard, molasses, orange zest, thyme and remaining 2 cups broth. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the bacon mixture to the beans, cover with the lid, and cook on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours, until the beans are cooked to your liking. Season with salt to taste.
The recipe above appears in The Chef and the Slow Cooker, by Hugh Acheson, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Buy Now: $18