Thursday, May 10, 2007

Baked Beans

With the BBQ chicken, we had Alton Brown's Once and Future Beans. This was our second try at this recipe. I'm just not a big bean fan. But these were really good. The first time we made them the cast iron pan was pretty new and the beans picked up a metallic taste. A couple years and lots of cooking later, the beans turned out really good and did not have any metallic taste. I would strongly recommend getting preseasoned cast iron. They cost more, but you don't have as much problem with foods coming out tasting of iron. Although I seem to be more sensitive to the taste than anyone else at our house. As far as the recipe goes, we followed it more or less. I covered the beans to soak them and added more water a couple hours later so they were still covered. And it seems that 6 hours was plenty of time for cooking. At closer to 8 hours, the beans were starting to break up.

The Once and Future Beans
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
Vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Soak beans in a plastic container overnight in just enough cold water to submerge them completely.

Place a cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat and stir in the bacon, onion, and jalapenos until enough fat has rendered from the bacon to soften the onions, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, dark brown sugar, and molasses.

Drain the beans and reserve the soaking liquid. Add the drained beans to the Dutch oven. Place the soaking liquid in a measuring cup and add enough vegetable broth to equal 4 cups of liquid. Add the liquid to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in cayenne, black pepper and salt. Give them a stir and cover with the lid. Place the Dutch oven in the oven for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beans are tender.

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