Friday, May 06, 2011

Crock-pot beans and barley

Have I mentioned {(at least 1000 times)} how much I love my slow-cooker?  Because, I do. If I had to pick just one thing to take from my kitchen when I move, I would pick my crock-pot. In fact, I shipped it up to D.C. when I did my internship, took it to camp, and might even take it with me if I go abroad {(with a power converter, of course!)}

This recipe comes {(loosely)} from this book:

I highly recommend it this book, by the way. I got mine for about $6 at Half-Price books, and there are so many recipes in here that I want to try, its ridiculous. Can you say peach and blackberry cobbler, or potato and pea curry?  Yum!

Anyhoo, I finagled the recipe a smidge to fit my crock-pot size, and my mistakes {(like when I pre-cooked the beans I forgot to reserve the starchy cooking liquid; hello beer, nice to meet you!)}, so you should feel free to finagle however much you want. This can be made vegan, alcohol-free, whatever. It's so versatile and fairly inexpensive.

1 bag dried white beans
1 package turkey bacon, roughly chopped
1 cup {or so} of barley {I used pearl barley sold in bulk}
1 yellow onion cut in half then sliced
1/2-3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup pure maple syrup {check the labels! don't buy fake syrup!}
1.5 tsp dried mustard
3/4 tsp ginger
1.5 tsp dried garlic
1 bottle of your favorite beer {I used Shiner Bock; I'd recommend a light ale or amber beer}
butter or oil to saute onions

Rinse and pick over beans for stones, etc.
Combine beans and 6 cups of water in a bowl {I just tossed them in my slow cooker crock}
Let sit for 6 hours or so
Drain and rinse beans
Place in the crock and fill to the top with water
Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 5-6 {(I cooked mine overnight on low)}
Remove beans from crock and reserve the liquid if you're not using beer.
In a skillet brown chopped bacon to render the fat and transfer bacon to a bowl.
Saute onions until they're soft and caramelized and add to bowl
Rinse barley and add to bowl
Add beans and remaining ingredients minus the beer
Mix all ingredients together and put back into crock
Add beer until the liquid comes just below the top of the crock
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Serve with corn muffins and enjoy!

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