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Friday, February 6, 2009

Crockpot Beans

I can't take credit for this recipe, it's Rachael's (my cousin), but I can tell you its fabulous!
That's why I asked her for it. She has several variations on how to use the cooked beans. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Beans

1 lb bag (or 2 cups) of dried beans (pinto, black, or red beans)
2 cloves of whole garlic
about 8 cups water
1 heaping teaspoon salt

Cook the beans in a crock pot on LOW overnight with the water and garlic. In the morning I add the salt and turn the crock pot up to HIGH, which gets them done just right. By noon they are tender and tasty. The finished beans can sit in the crock pot until you're ready to cook dinner, as long as you reheat them before eating. When serving, discard the garlic cloves, and you can serve them soup style with some cheese and chips. Or try one of the alternative variations below.

Refried Beans
Cook 2 Tbsp bacon (cut in small pieces) in a large frying pan over medium heat until crispy (do not drain). Using a ladle, gradually add crock pot beans with about half the liquid. Lower heat to med-lo, and smash in the pan with a potato masher. Depending on the consistency you like, you may have to add more liquid, or add some flour if it is too runny. It does thicken a bit as it cools though, or if you let it simmer. I also add some onion powder and salt to taste.

Ham & Beans
Cook beans in the crock pot with garlic as above. In the morning add a meaty ham bone from a cooked ham, one onion chopped, and 1/4 tsp ground thyme. You will probably want to half the salt, or skip it altogether if you add juices from the ham, depending on how salty your ham is. Turn the crock pot up to HIGH after adding the ham. Check it about noon, it's done when the beans are tender and meat falls off the bone. Take out the ham bone and shred the meat and return to the pot.

Use the crock pot beans above to add to your favorite chili recipe. You can finish the chili in your crock pot, or you can add the beans to a pot on the stove with the rest of the ingredients.

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