Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vegetarian baked beans, ketchup-free

I've noticed that this post gets my blog more hits than practically anything else. I guess there's quite the demand for vegetarian baked beans! Honestly, it's not that hard to make them, either. A little time consuming, but not difficult.

But I've been tinkering with the recipe. It still stands as a good one (pretty loosey-goosey, but I think that's okay: it gives plenty of room for modification to individual tastes.) I've been making these about twice a month since April, so I'm updating with the latest incarnation.

As if it's not enough to make baked beans from scratch, though, I decided I wanted to make them without ketchup. Ever hear that old Carol Sagan quote? "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." So, um, yeah, I know that perhaps "from scratch" can be taken too far. Still.

I used canned tomato sauce (about 1.5 cups, I think), and some additional spices, instead. Perhaps a little extra molasses as well.

You know, the ketchup label doesn't give a whole lot of detail about what's in there (other than the HFCS, of course). "Spices." What does that mean? I checked a couple of cookbooks, notably Laurel's Kitchen and The Complete Book of Home Preserving, by Kingry and Devine, and added small amounts (no more than 1/4 tsp) each of ground celery seed, ground cloves, oregano, and about a pinch each of cinnamon and cumin. I wanted depth without making any of those noticeable, although I may have erred too far on the side of caution. Next time I may try just a touch more.

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