Saturday, August 21, 2010

Going Dutch - Baked Beans

If you are like me, so far, baked beans have only ever arrived on my plate via a tin can. I have never really been a big fan and we only eat them about once a year around here. However, this past spring we went touring into Prince Edward County, a local wine and food region, for the annual Maple in the County event. It was in a farm yard on a warm March afternoon that I had some great baked beans and ham.

Feeling a bit bored in the grocery store last week, I remembered tasting that very dish we tried in the County and picked up a bag of navy beans and a ham hock from the butcher. There seem to be a great variety of recipes online and I am sure that some of my readers have their own traditional family recipe for this, but if you are a newbie to the dish, here my version of the recipe. It is adapted from the Williams-Sonoma "Comfort Food" cookbook. For once, a fairly easy recipe from these folks!

You will need either a dutch oven or a crock pot or a pot that can go in the oven (no plastic handles) or just cook it all on the stove top instead of in the oven. (hint, if you are still wondering what that huge, heavy pot that says "Le Creuset" on it that showed up at your wedding is for, this is your chance!) I received a Calphalon Unison dutch oven for Christmas last year and it has been great.

Do leave yourself a whole day to make this stuff or if you have a crock pot, cook it overnight. My oven has a slow cook and cook timer feature, so I just programmed everything, threw in the dutch oven and came back every two hours.

DIY Rating: 10 Super minimal effort and skill needed. 

With few dishes to wash and an awesome aroma, your kitchen will smell like you are a pro chef!

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