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Friday, March 25, 2011

all-day baked beans with bacon, rum, and honey

i flew home to georgia last week to surprise my parents for their birthdays. i'd coordinated with my brother and cousin to arrive undetected and make a grand entrance, and, thanks to a flawless execution, they were, indeed, surprised. we had so much fun for the week.

during my visit, my favorite aunt jane made it clear that she USED TO enjoy reading my blog, but obviously i wasn't cooking anymore, because i hadn't updated the blog in SO long. but i have! so, aj, this one is for you!

i decided one cold, drizzly day not too long ago that i wanted a good ol' southern barbeque experience, but i didn't want to cook any meat. enter this recipe for baked beans from edible seattle, plus some cornbread and chopped cabbage slaw, and the meat was not missed at all.

IMPORTANT: these are called "all-day" because they cook, well, all day. seriously. 8 hours. don't think that you'll magically speed up the process, as i did, and ended up cooking them over two days. no, just take my word for it. they're going to cook all day.

the recipe is absolutely fantastic. i was skeptical at first, that the flavors were too mild and the results would be bland. i was wrong. so very wrong. they are rich, creamy, sticky, and perfect. they cook so long that the bacon melts away into the gooey sauce, which is pretty decadent. recipe makes 6 servings, and you'll be glad to have the leftovers.

all-day baked beans with bacon, rum, and honey
from edible seattle, march/april 2010

1/2 lb thick-cut bacon
1 lb red or red kidney beans, cooked until tender (this is roughly 6 cups, roughly 4 cans)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup dark rum
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup honey (recipe calls for spicy honey, which i didn't have, but it would be great in these beans)

preheat oven to 325 degrees. in a bowl, mix the beans with molasses, rum, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

chop the bacon and add it to the bottom of a dutch oven. pour the beans on top of the bacon, and add water to cover the beans to about twice their depth and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours. the liquid should barely simmering.

stir beans, and continue cooking, checking every half hour and stirring the caramelized bits back under (you can scrape the sticky bits from the sides, too), until all of the water is absorbed. (i was shy with the amount of water i added at the beginning, so i actually added water throughout the cooking process as the beans absorbed the liquid. worked out just fine.)

the recipe says the beans will cook 3 to 8 hours. as i said, mine cooked for a full 8, over the course of 2 days since i'd planned poorly. the beans will be done when the liquid is absorbed, the beans are plump and creamy, gooey and soft, and the top is caramelized.

stir in honey, season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

bacon from skagit river ranch
red beans from alvarez organic farm
honey from sweet as can bee honey farm

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