I know we
ve had several threads about beans, baked, and otherwise. I was thinking about beans tonight, and as I'm allowed a very small amount, I decided to make some baked bean style beans using canned pinto beans as the base. So I poured ff the excess liquid and placecd the beans in a cramic, oval container. To that I adde a tbs. of Heina Ketchup, 3 tbs. mollases, and 3 tbs. dark brow sugar. And then, I added a quater of an onion, chopped. And then I got thinking again.
Baked beans get their flavor from simmering long and slow in a rich sauce made usually from smoked pork, pork fat, a little tomato, and either mollases, brown sugar, maple, or some combination of these. The sauce is rich to begin with, but soupy. It becomes thicker as it slowly simmers in a low heat environment. Unlike a sauce whose liquid is absorbed into the food, as in milk in scalloped potatoes, or excess water being absorbed in lasanga noodles, the beans are hydrated before they are added to the sauce. The suace therefore thickens as water evaporates, and the sauce is reduced. It becomes sticky and adheres to the beans. The beans themselves are rather bland in flavor. It's the sauce is what gives them flavor.
Sp. as O was making a quick batch of beans, and didn't want to cook them long enough to make a sauce reduction around the beans, I tried something a little different. I made the sauce a little stronger, usiong molasses, onion, and brown sugar, with a littleet ketchup and yellow mustard. I tasted it as it was still cold. It was very tasty, but a bit soupy. I needed it to thicken.
OI thought another minute and played with different thickening agents in my head. Egg yolks were out. They would add the wrong flavor. Corn starch is the wrong texture. I thought of apple pie. Ity has a good texture, and uses flour and pectin as the thickening agent. So I added tbs. flour to my beans. I microwaved the beans for 4 minutes and theu came out great. They were just thick enough for the sauce to adhere nicely to the beans. The flour didn't detract from the flavor at all.
I don't know if my thoughts on this are useful to anyone else. I'm just sharing another experiment that worked.
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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