The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Blazin’ Baked Beans
I’ll be the first to admit that baked beans are not my favorite. Well, I’d better qualify that – the ones that come from a can. Apart from the fact that almost all brands add high fructose corn syrup (deal-breaker for me), they’re just all too, too sweet. Set your teeth on edge too sweet. Now, I understand the need for convenience in a side dish as much as the next person – pop the top and microwave until heated through since cooking dried beans is a long, tedious process (even if the end result is worth the trouble). But, what if I told you that you can have the best of both worlds? Rockin’ baked beans the easy way with just a quick sauté of onions and peppers in a little rendered bacon fat (hallelujah!). Some Great Northern or navy beans cloaked in a little ketchup and molasses, a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo for some heat, add in a few spices and baked in a low oven until they’re saucy and unbelievably delicious?
Oh, and bonus, they smell absolutely fabulous while they’re cooking. What’s not to love about baked beans – they’re the perfect side for your potluck or barbecue!
- 6 slices thick bacon, cut in half or fourths
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 chipotle pepper, minced
- 5 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans or navy beans, drained
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup molasses
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of cloves
- red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a deep sauté pan over medium heat, partially cook the bacon until it renders about 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon; add the onions and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the beans, ketchup, Dijon, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and cloves. Season to taste with pepper flakes and heat the mixture through. Pour the beans in a 9-x-13 casserole dish and top with the bacon slices. Bake for an hour or so, until it’s bubbly and thick.
Planning: To make this even faster, you can substitute your favorite barbecue sauce for the ketchup and spices – but add in the molasses and brown sugar.
Product Purity: Chipotle chiles are actually smoked jalapeños and come canned in adobo sauce. Check your labels for high fructose corn syrup in your ketchup.
Presentation: Small cast-iron skillets make perfect individual servers. I like to garnish with a couple of sliced jalapeños – to echo the chipotle vibe, plus it lets folks know that the beans are spicy.
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