Friday, June 21, 2013

the unfortunate beans

I had a huge amount of sauce left over from my pulled-pork adventures, and I wanted to use it for something. Upon tasting it, I was hit with the idea of making pork and beans: the sauce was sweet and tangy, and the addition of some jalapeños, bacon, and brown sugar would make for the perfect pork-and-beans recipe. The concept was so clear in my head that all I needed to do was to go out and buy the necessary components. One trip to Costco later, and I had everything but the beans. I decided to get some white beans (a.k.a. navy beans or frijoles blancos); luckily, the local Wal-mart had them. I bought two bags, and that may have been my first mistake: I should have bought only one.

I poured the beans and the sauce into the slow-cooker, then added minced jalapeños, crispy (microwaved) bacon, and raw bacon. I also added some juice from the jalapeño bottle, knowing full well that most of the spiciness would be cooked out after several hours, leaving only a faint capsaicin echo. I stirred the whole thing up, and it smelled fantastic. Not long after, I went to bed.

In the morning, I woke to an aroma that was pleasant on top, but that had an unpleasant undercurrent to it. Thereby forewarned, I lumbered into my kitchenette, uncovered the beans, and saw that they looked great, but... they had absorbed so much of the liquid that there was little liquid left to prevent burning. I sampled the beans, and sure enough, this was a classic Soup Disaster Moment: the charred taste had infused the entire batch. I tried rescuing the beans—which still looked damn good—by dumping the loose, unburned ones into a pot and chucking the burned bottom layer. I tried adding a bit of water, sugar, and ketchup to the remaining beans, but to no avail. Ultimately, I decided to toss the entire batch, cursing the colossal waste of time, effort, and food.

Lesson learned: next time I try to make pork and beans, I'm going to cook the beans separately in plain water first, then add the sauce and other elements only when we're near the end of the cooking process. This ought to give the beans' flavor enough time to marry with that of the sauce, brown sugar, and bacon, while preventing any burning. I'll also need to control the beans-to-water ratio: much more water needed for proper beans! Those little suckers are sponges.

I'm not daunted, though. Disappointed, yes, but not daunted. I'll be trying this again soon.

A last, loving look at my beans, before they got chucked:



Sperwer said...

Beans? Brown sugar?

I guess you're off the diet, at least for now.

Probably not unreasonable considering all that you've got going on getting ready for the move.

I do hope you get back on the beam when you get here and get settled in.

I don't won't to have to go down to Daegu and kick ass! LOL

Kevin Kim said...


I'd been planning to get back on the low-carb wagon this week, but that didn't happen, in part because I've got too many carb-laden foods left over from last week. So I mentally shrugged, said "Fuck it," and have been eating the carbs. I'll try to clean up for next week, but we're gonna be interrupted by the Fourth, when we'll be doing burgers and dogs and plenty of bread and chips and dessert. I'll force my fellow July 4 partiers to cart most or all of the carbs out of my apartment when they leave.

Kevin Kim said...

Oh, yeah: I barely got to eat any beans. Had just a few spoonfuls before I chucked the whole sad batch.

Sperwer said...

It's the thought that counts! ;))