Wish Upon A Dish: New Year, New Resolution ♥ Beans can save your life, literally

January 2, 2012

New Year, New Resolution ♥ Beans can save your life, literally

Sunday nights are a good time to soak beans.

Why Sundays? Because, tradition has it that Mondays are catch up days.
You know the start of a new week is time to play catch-up.
Laundry, dishes, dusting, etc and a great time to 'put up' a pot 'o beans. I have also read that if you soak them just long enough where they begin to sprout, they are packed with more of the good stuff that beans normally have. Remember that science experiment in grammar school where you took a handful of beans and placed the between to sheets of moist paper towels to watch them sprout? This is the same thing.

Beans do more for a recipe then add fiber, minerals and vitamins. The add moisture, texture and, believe it or not, like potatoes, they retain heat (go figure).

Beans have significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber, with one cup of cooked beans providing between nine and 13 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol. Beans are also high in protein, complex carbohydrates, folate, and iron.

I cannot stress more...if you want to loose weight or are a diabetic, you need to eat beans at least 3x a week.

New Years Day is the perfect time to get started with incorporating beans into your diet.
Beans are considered good luck. Black-eyed peas in the South, favas or lentils for the Italians, baked beans in New England and black beans in the SW. They represent coins as they swell while soaking, so your pocket will forever be full. Others consider it a new beginning like the seeds planted for food.

We had baked beans with our Buffalo wings. I make mine in the crock pot using the technique that Cooks Illustrated perfected for moist and soft beans (not many have success with beans and a slow cooker) but read on and the light bulb will go off.
Problem with cooking beans in a slow cooker is the empty space. Beans need moisture to cook and will get horribly hard, real fast if not treated the right way.

By placing a sheet of foil over the beans, the moisture goes back into the beans, not into the empty space. If your slow cooker is the perfect size (meaning the bean mixture before cooking comes right up to the rim) you do not need the foil.
Simple solution for such a tough problem (get it??).

The following recipe cooks enough for a large picnic but can be divided into 4 servings successfully (amounts in parentheses). If you do not want to use (or do not have) a slow cooker, put them in an oven at 250F for the same amount of time.

Basic Baked Beans in a Slow Cooker
Serves 16
* 1 pound dry navy beans (1/4 cup)
* 1/2 cup chopped onion (2 tablespoons)
* 1/2 cup low-sugar ketchup (2 tablespoons)
* 1/2 cup Truvia brown sugar, firmly packed (2 tablespoons)
* 1/2 cup water (1/4 cup)
* 1 tablespoon ground ginger (1 teaspoon)
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard (1/4 teaspoon)
* 2 tablespoons molasses (2 teaspoons)
* 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (2 slices)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (1/4 teaspoon)
* 1/4 cup sugar-free pancake syrup (2 tablespoons)


Quick soaking method...
Put beans in three times the volume of unsalted water; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer gently for 1 hour. Let stand, covered, in the hot water for 2 hours.

In a bowl, combine onion, ketchup, brown sugar, ginger, water, mustard, molasses and syrup. Drain beans well and mix with the ketchup mixture in the slow cooker. Cover with foil then lid and cook on LOW for 9 to 11 hours (6-8 for small batch), until beans are tender. Add salt about 30 minutes before serving time. Try not to open the lid until halfway through the cooking time. You will loose over an hour of cooking time every time you peek.

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