Homemade Baked Beans
3 cups dry navy beans-Leenie swears by Thompsons beans
1 pound bacon or ham, chopped or cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups ketchup or chili sauce or 3/4 cup of each
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak beans in water overnight.
Strain, re-cover with water, bring to a boil then simmer until beans are soft.
Strain and transfer beans to crock pot or baking dish.
Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.
Pour over beans and mix well.
In a crock pot on low, cook for 8 -10 hours, stirring occasionally
In a crock pot on high, cook for 4-6 hours stirring occasionally
In the oven, bake at 350 degrees 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally
The beans have to be soft before you add the sugar and molasses mixture. They don't soften up any further after that. The cooking is to infuse the flavour into the beans.
Omit the meat to make this a vegetarian meal. Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup or they will be too sweet, unless you like them sweet.
The ketchup and especially chili sauce is home made in our recipes but commercial varieties are fine. Chili sauce is sweet, not hot, a tomato relish. Don't confuse it with chili paste. Don't laugh, it's been done.
You can substitute 1/4 cup of maple syrup for a 1/2 cup of the brown sugar to change the flavour a little. I've also seen recipes that sweeten with apple butter. I've never tried it but feel free to experiment. A half cup of apple butter and reduce the brown sugar by the same.
To thicken the beans, mash a bit of them in the final hour of cooking. The starch in the beans will thicken the sauce, completely a personal preference.
Cooking times vary, I have no idea why but they do. I normally start mine on low in the crock pot and finish them in the oven.
Making a good pot of beans takes a little practice but once you've mastered it you'll never eat canned ones again. Enjoy.