Baked Brown Beans (Light)
Don't tell anyone about the "light" word in the title here; they won't know or care, these home baked beans are so darn good. Even people who have grown up expecting baked beans to taste like certain canned brands smack their lips over these beans. These are very little work to make aside from chopping an onion. All the time is in the cooking time, which doesn't involve you, anyway. It's just nice to know that food that is supposed to be good for you actually is. The total yield of the recipe is 6 cups (1.5 litres.)
Step 1: Cook the beans
- Rinse the navy beans. No need to presoak for either cooking method below.
- 1a) Pressure cooker (recommended): Put them in a pressure cooker along with the 10 cups of water, oil, and bay leaves. Put them right in -- as in, not in a steamer basket. Cook on high for 35 minutes. (In a Nutricook™, use the starch setting.) If the beans aren't soft after 35 minutes, bring them back up to pressure for another 5 minutes or so.
- 1b) If you don't have a pressure cooker, put the dried beans in a pot on stove with the water and bay leaves (omit oil), cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Let cook for around 2 hours until the beans are soft.
Step 2: Assemble the recipe
- When the beans are cooked, right away reserve 2 cups (500 ml) of the cooking water. Drain the beans. You can freeze the rest of the broth in a tub as a rich tasting, healthy stock for future cooking (recommended), or discard.
- Assemble in your slow cooker the 2 cups (500 ml) of bean stock, and all the remaining ingredients from the onion down to and including the Kitchen Bouquet. Stir to mix, then add the drained beans. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or on high for 2 hours.
2 cups of dried Navy beans is 400 g / 14 oz. You can convert that to a pound / 450 g in your mind, no sweat. The oil in the pressure cooker is there as a safety measure to prevent bean skins clogging the pressure cooker; don't omit, unless you have opted to simmer the beans instead. How long dried beans take to cook depends on how old they are. They are cooked when you can use your tongue to mash one against the roof of your mouth. It is possible to overcook them so that they become moosh. You want squishable in your mouth, as opposed to al dente, but without being moosh -- you want al tongue, not al teeth. The liquid stevia gives the beans a mellow sweetness while not adding a boatload of calories like brown sugar, molasses, etc, do. The Kitchen Bouquet gives the beans their deep brown colour and eye appeal. These are good for up to 5 days in the fridge, for quick breakfasts or suppers; they also freeze well. You can freeze portions in small tubs or small baggies. Quick tips: instead of fresh onion, you can use a small handful of dried onion flakes; instead of tomato paste, you can use ketchup. Optional: you can add a tablespoon of maple syrup (or 1/4 teaspoon maple flavouring) for flavouring.
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