If, like me, you often have small quantities of several varieties of dried beans in your pantry, here is a great way to use them up. For a festive presentation, add the bread crumb or caramelized apple topping. I like to serve this with a salad of shredded carrots and steamed brown bread.
- 2 cups (500 ml) assorted dried beans
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 large parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp (10ml) chili powder
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- 1 tsp (5 ml) cracked black peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick piece, about 2 inches (5 cm)
- 1 cup (250 ml) apple cider or juice
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- ½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
- 2 tbsp (25 ml) cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tbsp (25 mL) cold water
1. Soak beans according to either method in Basic Beans. Drain and rinse and set aside.
2. In slow cooker stoneware, combine beans, onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, garlic, chili powder, salt, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, apple cider, water and maple syrup. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender.
3. In a bowl, combine dissolved cornstarch with 2 tbsp (25 mL) hot cooking liquid from beans and stir until smooth. Gradually add up to ¼ cup (50 mL) hot bean liquid, stirring until mixture is smooth. Return mixture to stoneware and stir well until sauce thickens.
Cider Baked Beans with Bread Crumb Topping:
Preheat broiler. After beans are cooked, ladle them into individual heatproof tureens or a baking dish. In a bowl, combine 1 cup (250 mL) dry bread crumbs with ¼ cup (50 mL) each melted butter and finely chopped parsley. Sprinkle over beans and place under broiler until topping is lightly browned and beans are bubbling.
Cider Baked Beans with Caramelized Apples:
Thanks to Cinda Chavich for this idea. When beans are almost cooked, peel and core 4 apples, then slice them vertically into thin slices. In a skillet, over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter. Add ¼ cup (50 mL) brown sugar and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add apple slices and stir to coat with sugar mixture. Add ¼ cup (50 mL) rum. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, turning, until the liquid evaporates and the apples are tender. Arrange apple slices on top of beans, cover and cook on High for 1 hour.