Sunday, September 9, 2012

50th Birthday Beans

We had more plans this weekend than we've had in quite a while.  Friday we had the Auf Ruf for my sister and her fiancee.  For the non-Jews amongst us, that's the community blessing in temple that happens sometime before your wedding.  

The children were extremely well behaved and were rewarded by getting ice cream for dinner.  What?  They ate a carrot after services.

Saturday was a ladies paint-your-own-pottery get together as a pre-wedding thing as well.  
G.G. (Great Grandma) carefully polka-dotting an ice cream dish.

Gail, Lea, and Grandma making works of art.  

Saturday night was my brother in law's 50th birthday party.  That was a good time.  It's always nice to have an excuse to throw a bash with way too much food, and this was an especially good reason.  

Happy Birthday, Dan!

The various brothers and sisters-in-law divided up the menu.  I was responsible for ribs, baked beans, and cupcakes.  The cupcakes were courtesy of my friend Aimee, who's started up her own cupcake business.  We had strawberry margarita cupcakes and salted caramel.  They were quite tasty.

I have to admit, I think that my ribs and beans turned out pretty good too.  If you're thinking about making baked beans from scratch, and you have a slow cooker handy, definitely try these.  I started with this recipe, and then tweaked it a little; I wanted it a little less sweet, a little less bourbony, (don't worry.  Mine were still quite heavy on the liquor) and a little meatier.  Mine delivered.

You should know that you need to start these at least a day before you want to eat them.  If you're doing the overnight soak for the dried beans, you need to start two days in advance.  

Slow Cooker Bourbon Baked Beans
1 lb dried navy or cannelini beans
1 medium onion, medium chop
1 clove garlic
2 c water
3/4 c. your favorite BBQ sauce
3/4 c. loosely packed light brown sugar
1/8 c. ketchup
1/8 c. mustard (I used gouldens)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 c. bourbon
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp smoked salt (if you can find it).
6 pork ribs, sliced apart (I used baby back)

Soak the beans, either using the quick soak method or by soaking overnight for about 8 hours.

Once the beans have been through an initial soak, drain the water, and refill the pot with fresh water.  Boil the beans while you do the rest of the cooking steps.

Sauté the onion in a couple tablespoons of whatever fat you prefer (butter, oil, or bacon fat).  When the onion is soft and tender, add the garlic and sauté an extra minute or two.  Remove from heat.

In the slow cooker, mix the rest of the ingredients, excluding the ribs.  Then, drain the beans and add them to the liquid mix.  Stir in the onions and finally put the ribs in the mix.  Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 10 hours.  

After 10 hours, the beans will likely still look quite liquidy.  Remove the lid and let cool for an hour or two.  The ribs should be falling off the bones at this point.  Remove the bones from the mix and shred the meat that needs shredding.  Turn the slow cooker back on, and let cook on low heat again for anywhere for 6-10 more hours.  Serve hot.

Imagine there's a picture right here of the finished beans.  I forgot.

If you have leftovers, you could always use them like I did tonight, as part of a leftover pulled pork, baked bean, zucchini pizza.  Totally delicious.  

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