This weekend, I wanted to spoil John a bit by making him something that only he likes. Something that none of the rest of the family will touch: Baked Beans.
Truth is I have never made a pot of beans because, well, I'm not a fan and I wasn't even sure how to make something I don't like. But eating his cravings out of a can aren't fair in the slightest, soooooo...I bit the bullet and it was an absolute success!
When I was a kid, I can remember my dad opening a can of baked beans up and cooking them over the stove with sliced up hot dogs. I absolutely despised them !
Of course I married a man who loves them as well! He doesn't crave them or even ask for them ever, but I know. To be honest, I was worried about making them. How do you make something you don't enjoy or appreciate eating? A little bit of trust in self was all I needed.
John took his first bite, looked at me and giggled. I was confused! What was so amusing?
"These beans are better than my grandmother's, you 've outdone yourself again!"
And that's all I needed to share this recipe that I mismatched from others and even from John's own family recipe that his mother shared with me several years ago.
Cari-Lee's Kielbasa Baked Beans
I used dried beans and soaked them overnight but you can also boil them for an hour instead.
3 cups of dry navy beans
2 medium cooking onions chopped
1 pound of diced bacon from a trusted butcher
1 tin of organic tomato paste
2 tablespoons of Fire Cider (or worcestershire sauce)
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard ( I used my hot honey mustard)
2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup and a bit of organic blackstrap molasses
1-2 large diced green bell peppers (depends on how much you like green pepper whether you use 1 or 2)
1 pound of halved and sliced smoked, lean kielbasa from a trusted butcher
1-2 tablespoon of liquid hickory smoke (found at specialty stores and butchers, or your local delicatessen)
3/4 cup water
Fry your bacon almost to crisp then add your diced onions and fry about 10 minutes. While the onions and bacon fry, stir in the wet ingredients and sugar into the crock and mix until well blended. Add your beans, bacon, onions and green peppers and mix well.
Layer sliced kielbasa on top of the the lot and slow cook on low for 6-8 hours (4-5 on high but might dry out beans so pay attention and add water as needed)
About half way through the cook, mix in the kielbasa into the entirety of the beans and let it cook. This ensures the flavours run through well. You could use a broth instead of water but I found absolutely no need for this.
I need to clarify that I still don't like baked beans, canned or otherwise. I can't lie and I won't...bleh. That being said I didn't think they were horrible, I ate a spoonful and it was decent. Please don't judge by my reaction though.
He took a bite, looked out the corner of his eye at me and giggled.
"What? Did I screw it up?" I asked, wide-eyed and absolutely worried.
"This is the best bowl of beans ever! It's better than my Gramma's", he said as he scooped up another spoonful that turned into another bowl.
That's all I need to hear! Woohoo! I did it!
So I guess I should stop all this self-doubt stuff, eh?
The nice thing is that even though John is the only one who eats baked beans, nothing will go to waste from that big ole crock that I made. Beans freeze really well, so I stored away a bunch of containers for whenever my love has a craving.
And I'm actually looking forward to experimenting with the next pot I make....spareribs sound delicious and maybe some Hungarian Debrezini sausages....sounds like I'd like it, even if I won't! At least John will enjoy it!
Recipes are going to vary from meals to medicines. It's all about healing from the inside out because we truly are what we eat. What's the point? Well, gardening and foraging for your own foods, shopping local and no processed garbage or pharmaceuticals for what ails you? I think that's enough of point, don't you?
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Your medicine is in the woods.
Your pharmacy is in your kitchen.