Saturday, October 23, 2010
I managed the baking times a little better this time. Except for the pizza, which got a bit charred just at the edge, the crusts were all perfect. And it turns out that the time required to eat a pizza dinner is the perfect time to allow the oven to cool down for the first loaves of bread.
Vegetarian Baked Beans
3 cups white pea beans, soaked overnight
1 large onion, chopped
1 tart apple, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup tomato paste or ketchup
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. curry powder
Cover beans in water and bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour. In the meantime, prepare other ingredients and dump into a heavy baking dish with a lid. Add simmered beans and stir. Add enough fresh water to bring the level up to the top of the beans. Cover pot and place in a slow oven (275ºF) for 4-6 hours. Add a bit of water as necessary. An hour before serving, mash a few of the beans and stir in. Add more water if necessary, or uncover if too watery. Time and temperature are very flexible. You can start the beans at 9 a.m. and set the temperature a bit lower and leave them all day, or you can start at 2 pm and bump the temperature up a bit hotter. Or you can (apparently) put them in a fairly hot thermal mass oven and leave them overnight as the temperature gradually cools.
(About the seasonings: I really just wing these. I always use onion, though sometimes I pitch in more than one. I always use about a third of a cup total of something brown and sweet, a similar quantity of something tomato-based, a bit of some kind of vinegar, plus salt and pepper. The rest is just by guess and by gosh. The curry powder is a nice touch in traditional baked beans and a teaspoon gives just a subtle flavour. You can triple the apples and triple the curry powder to make a real curry-flavoured pot which is nice for variety sometimes. Sometimes I'll pitch in some soy-based browning, or some vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, or some liquid smoke, or use maple syrup instead of molasses and brown sugar. It is quite fun to experiment.)
Serve with fresh-baked bread or rolls.
Left-over baked beans can be mashed a bit more and stored in the fridge to be used as a savory vegetarian sandwich spread. Beans also freeze well.