Despite the fact that we are full swing into hot weather, I find myself getting a bit weary of salads and chilled foods. I still like them, but don't want to eat that sort of food exclusively. I even turned on my oven the day before I wrote this so I could do some baking.
I also got to thinking that many of us are enjoying some portable picnics and outdoor eating, and there is one thing that I love to include in such meals: baked beans! You don't always have to actually bake them, of course, as there are plenty of tasty varieties that come in cans and you can either eat them as is or doctor them up a bit. What I would do with the recipes that say to bake in an oven for a couple of hours, is to cook them not nearly so long in a pot on the stove top.
I love to have baked beans, even in the summer, along with a grilled hot dog and either a potato salad or some chips. And it figures -- my favorite brands of hot dogs are the ones that have the most fat and sodium! But I don't eat hot dogs very often, so the times that I do indulge, I get my favorites. Might as well enjoy them, right?
Easy baked beans
I have had this recipe for almost 30 years, having copied it from one I found in a rented condo in Lake Tahoe.
- 2 cans (16-oz. each) pork and beans
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard (blend it together with the brown sugar)
- 6 slices bacon, cut up
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- Preheat oven to 315. In casserole, place 1 can of beans. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and mustard mixture. Top with the other can of beans, then additional sugar and mustard mixture.
- Top with bacon and ketchup. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Similar to the first recipe but there are more goodies in this one.
- 2 large cans pork and beans
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 8 strips bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke seasoning
- 1 bottle (16-oz.) ketchup
- Preheat oven to 400. Thoroughly mix all ingredients and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 2 hours, adding water if necessary. Stir occasionally.
Stove top "baked" beans
This isn't an exact recipe, but it's what I do most of the time.
- 1 large can of your favorite baked beans (not pork and beans)
- Bacon, raw, diced (maybe about 2 slices)
- Onions, chopped
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup or pancake syrup
- In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and reserve; pour off all but a small amount of grease.
- Saute onion in bacon drippings until soft and translucent. Add beans, reserved bacon and desired amounts of brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses. Cook until mixture thickens a bit and begins to caramelize.
Emeril's stove top beans
From Emeril Lagasse. I choose not to add the bay leaves.
- 1 pound bacon, diced
- 2 cups diced onions
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 10 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a large pot, add the bacon and render until crispy, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and beans and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat, stir in the chicken stock and bay leaves, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the beans for about 2 hours, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and bourbon. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and flavors have come together. Season the beans with salt and pepper, to taste, before serving. Makes about 2 quarts.