Okay, so here at SimplySmartDinnerPlans we do not typically advocate boxed, frozen, or canned foods in any of the recipes in our meal plans. We like our ingredients fresh…in fact, we’re a little snooty about it.
One exception that I make to the “fresh only” rule, is my baked beans.
I’m sure I could expand the ingredient list, and pre-make each kind of bean separately, but it would be a HUGE process, and I’m skeptical that they could really taste that much better than they do now.
Given that we might have these only once or twice per summer, I don’t feel too guilty about bending the rules a bit and using canned beans. The fact that we always (and I do mean always) get rave reviews may do something to assuage my guilt, as well!
The secret to this, or any great “one pot” dish, begins with the the process of “layering flavors” (like those wacky French taught us).
Just dumping all of these ingredients into the pot will NOT get you the same results (trust me…been there), but it’s the mingling of specific ingredients and building flavors, before introducing others, that gives these beans layer after layer of subtle, complex awesomeness.
Btw, we’re cooking up a 5 gallon mess o’ these today for a BBQ Feast tomorrow night at Roloff Farms, with the folks who won us at the 2012 Amy Roloff Charity Foundation dinner. Slow smoked pulled pork, southern baked beans, fresh baked green chili corn bread, cilantro-sesame slaw, & Chef Terry’s homemade peach pies!
ARCF is one of our key charities in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, and we’ll be on the auction block for this amazing charity organization again this year, don’t miss it!
(By the way, if you’re enjoying our recipes, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)
Chef Perry’s Low & Slow Southern Baked Beans
1 lb thick bacon
1 lg. sweet onion
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 each red, yellow, green bell pepper
Dash of salt & pepper
1 cup strong chicken broth*
1 (15oz) can of black beans, drained
1 (15oz) can of baked beans, drained
1 (15oz) can of pork & beans, drained
1 (15oz) can of ranch beans, drained
1 (15oz) can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted, if poss.), drained
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup Sweet Chili Sauce
2 Tbsp. Stubb’s mesquite liquid smoke
Mise en Place
Slice bacon into 1/4 inch lardons. Dice onion and peppers. Open cans and drain.
*I suggest 2 tsp. of Better than Bullion Chicken Base in 1 cup of hot water.
Prepare the Dish
Preheat oven to 250
Add onion, garlic, bell peppers, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until veggies have begun to soften. Drain bacon renderings, and raise heat to medium high.
Deglaze the pan with chicken stock, scraping up any bits from the bottom, and lower heat to medium low.
Add all beans, tomatoes, honey, chili sauce, and liquid smoke. Stir well. Bake, uncovered, 8-10 hours.
You can serve immediately, or for best possible results, cook a day or two in advance, cool on stove-top, and refrigerate 24-48 hours. Reheat in a 225 degree oven, for two hours. Stirring occasionally.
Note: I like to serve these beans with pulled pork or brisket, in which case I’ll stir in about a 1/2 cup of the reduced pan drippings (start with 2 cups), during the last 1/2 hour of baking. Adds an amazing flavor and really marries the beans to the entree.