Yesterday I wrote about my
first second attempt to make slow cooker/crock pot baked beans and I promised that I would update today to report results on how everything came out. It was an interesting twenty-four hours!
All last night, this wonderful aroma of baked beans permeated the air in our cozy little apartment while Kitchen Experiment #1 cooked in our Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System. I think even the furry people (read:cats) smelled them and were exceedingly hungry while the beans were cooking. All did not go exactly as I’d planned it yesterday, so I’ll give you the tweaks I had to make in the recipe and cooking methods.
I hypothesized that cooking the beans at 250 degrees in the crock pot would be appropriate, because after all, that is the temperature at which Mom cooked them in the oven with the bean pot. However, the nature of the Ninja and how the unit surrounds the cook pot with constant, direct heat made that temperature too high, as for the first three hours the beans boiled rapidly. Not a good thing when slow cooking is desired. So I turned the unit to the Slow Cooking setting on Low. I found that this setting worked wonderfully. While the beans were boiling, they had cooked most of the water out of the pot, so at the time I turned them down, I added back 2 cups of water. When I checked them at 9pm last night, this is what I found:
After sitting up awhile longer, as I usually do every night, I went to bed moderately late/early (2am!) and before I did I checked the cooker to see how my little experiment was going. Everything looked like it was getting along very well, so I gave them a little stir to see how everything was browning and added another half cup of water, re-covered them and shambled off to bed. I am pretty certain the cats both smelled the salt pork cooking, and both of them wanted extra food. But no beanies for the kitties!
When I finally pulled myself out of bed this morning, this is how the beans looked.
Now, I know I have nothing for reference, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that they looked absolutely perfect! They were beautifully browned and had just enough “juice” in them. The fat from the salt pork had rendered out completely and all that was left was tender, tasty morsels of yummy goodness. I was more than pleased! I scooped out a few cupfuls for my Mom and put them into a Ziploc container, then separated the rest out for dinner this week, and freezing some. They do freeze quite well and will keep nicely for about 6 months.
And Mom’s verdict? She said they were better (okay, not better but close!) than hers, and was impressed that the Ninja did so well on one of her signature dishes. In fact, when I gave her a spoon so she could taste them, she ate quite a few spoonfuls before she decided she should save some room for dinner! So we can count Kitchen Experiment #1 a total success! If you decide to tackle these for yourself, please let me know in the comment section how they turned out! I’d love to hear about your experiences with this recipe!