Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baked Beans- The Magical Fruit!

Our Mom,
 the famous baked bean maker
This is the first weekend where you can actually feel spring in air up here in Boston.   BBQ's are being dusted off and getting ready for the family BBQ.  Jason and I are actually planning on going to our friend's roof deck this Sunday for some grilling and I thought this Sunday Supper I'd feature a crowd pleasing side dish, which can also be used as a meal as well.   Baked Beans!   Baked beans were quite popular in the Sharp family growing up.   My mom had this huge and very heavy white Le Creuset dutch oven that she would make these magical baked beans for every family get together.   I don't know all the magic but I did sneak some peeks of her doctoring them up with lots of brown sugar, ketchup, and other magic ingredients. 

Joanne, Katie, and I many years ago
I have tried two times previously to make homemade baked beans and only one time have I been successful.   The first time I used dried beans.  If you've never used dried beans before I would highly suggest not using them.   They are some mysterious characters, with the required overnight soaking and don't salt them.  They end up hard.   When I used dried beans, my baked beans were very crunchy, not something you imagine as a baked bean.   That is why this recipe uses canned beans...less mystery with these.  

Good luck everyone with this weeks Sunday Supper!  Hope you can bring this to your family BBQ or serve it as a meal on it's on!

Sweet and Smokey Baked Beans
adapted from Food Network Kitchens

4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/4 inch slivers (remove this if you want to make a veggie version)
2 medium onions, finely chopped (roughly 2 cups_
2 cloves garlic, mined
2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed (this removes excess salt)
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I use whole grain)
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional, adds a good smokey flavor) 
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a heavy (preferably white Le Creuset dutch oven), cook bacon over medium heat to render fat, about 5 minutes.  Discard all by 2 tablespoons fat 

Add onion, garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the beans, molasses, BBQ sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustards, vinegar, and liquid smoke.  Simmer the beans, uncovered, until rich and thickly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.  The longer you simmer the beans the more developed the flavor will be.   Adjust seasonings to taste.  

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