Summer Crock Pot Cooking, that week, on August 4, I made Boston Baked Beans from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. This recipe, according to the cookbook, "has the exact same ingredients as those recorded by Abigail Adams of Massachusetts, wife of one president and mother of another, in her own handwritten cookbook from the late 1700s." Because it takes 10-12 hours on low after you precook the beans on high for an hour and a half, I ended up getting up at 6:00 a.m. just to start the crock pot. The beans (I used white navy beans; the recipe suggests either those or pea beans) had soaked overnight in the crock pot already, so when I got up I just drained them, put fresh water in, and turned it on for the hour and a half on high.
This is what the crock pot looked like when I first turned it on.
Now, this step in the directions is, I suspect, where my problems started. The recipe says, "Cover and cook on HIGH to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to LOW and cook until the beans are soft, thick, and bubbling, 10 to 12 hours." This may have partly been poor planning on my part, but when I got up at 6:00 a.m. to make the baked beans, I had planned to eat them that night for dinner. I hadn't counted on the time needed to bring the crock pot "to a boil" and after 30-ish minutes, when it hadn't boiled yet, I turned to the internet to see how long it takes for a crock pot to boil on high. This was not at all helpful. The only things that google turned up were recipes, like this one, that call for turning the crock pot to high to get it to boil before turning it to low, or sites that said that liquids "do not boil" in the crock pot. I even asked the question on Yahoo answers, which got me nothing but the same old "crock pot's don't boil" line. Anyway, I think I left it on high for maybe like 45 minutes or so before turning it to low.
This is what it looked like at the end of cooking.
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms stacked with Fresh Spinach and Shaved Manchego Cheese. This was absolutely delicious. As you might be able to see from the picture, however, after cooking on low for 12 hours, my beans were still not "soft, thick, and bubbling." The taste was fabulous, but the texture of the beans was all wrong for baked beans. I turned the beans on high and let them cook that way for several more hours while I did some work and got ready for bed (and yes, the crock pot did "boil," but no I don't know how long it took to do that). Right before going to bed I started putting the beans in plastic containers to go in the fridge, and saw that they still had the wrong texture. So I left them on for a few more hours and my roommate put them in containers in the fridge before she went to bed several hours later. Guess what! The beans still were not the right texture.
Now, my roommate and I speculated about all this and came up with possible reasons why the beans didn't turn out correctly. First, the beans could have been stale and I just didn't look closely enough when I first put them in to soak to notice this. Second, it could have been the failure to get the crock pot to boil before I turned it on low. Third, perhaps not adding the extra salt affected the recipe in some way. And fourth, perhaps the beans just need to cook for a longer period of time. If anyone is willing, I'd love someone else to try making this recipe to see how it works for you.