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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Recipe! Barbecue Baked Beans

Baked beans, in my family, appear to be a source of contention. My little brother and I are fond of the barbecue variety, my mother and sister aren't. Then again, both admitted that they had only ever tried the store-bought variety, which are no doubt chock-full of yuck. Making baked beans without the high fructose corn syrup, extra sodium and preservatives is easy, delicious, and absolutely worthwhile.

As far as beans are can certainly buy yours in a can. This works well if you're pressed for time or if you are unfamiliar with cooking your own beans. However, it's cheaper and more delicious if you do cook your own, and it's really quite simple! Whole Foods Market has a great tutorial on cooking white beans, which rightfully points out that beans can be made ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated for recipes throughout the week. I soaked my beans the night before, cooked them the morning of, then used them for the recipe that worked out well!

These beans took a few tries to get perfect...the seasonings and flavors had to be brought out to their full potential, but even the doubting Thomas' in the room loved them. My sister ate her helping right up, and had the leftovers for lunch the next day! Everyone agreed that they were the best baked beans they had ever tasted...they were a smash hit! We had them as a side dish for grilled BBQ chicken (still perfecting the barbecue sauce recipe...) and with pumpkin bread for dessert (keep your eyes peeled for that one...), but if you are making these as a main dish, or for a crowd, you'll probably want to double the recipe.

Contention no more! We can all agree that when it comes to baked beans, this recipe is the bees knees. Enjoy!

Barbecue Baked Beans (From scratch!)

1/2 package bacon (nitrate free is best!)
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T tomato paste
2 1/2 T molasses
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t chili powder
1 t mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 t white pepper
1/4 t allspice
Salt to taste
1 cup chicken broth
6 cups cooked great northern or navy beans (drained)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Chop bacon roughly, cook in large, oven proof skillet over medium-high heat until it releases it's fat, then add onions, garlic, and olive oil. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, then add tomato paste, molasses, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, mustard, brown sugar, pepper, allspice, and salt. Cook these ingredients together for about one minute, stirring continuously, and bring heat down to medium.

2. Add chicken broth and stir well, using broth to get all the scrapings from the bottom of the pan. Then add beans. Stir together until beans are well incorporated, then cover skillet with lid or foil and transfer to the oven.

3. Allow beans to cook for one hour, then uncover, stir, add more chicken broth if needed (but only if needed!) and place back into the oven uncovered for thirty minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for ten minutes or so, and serve.

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