Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Can I really do baked beans?

There are only two or three nights a week we come home from school and...get to stay here. So on those nights, I sort of make an attempt to keep everyone happy and what makes people happier than hotdogs on the grill with homemade baked beans, eaten outdoors?

This recipe, as happens so often, started out as Emeril's. But while Emeril gets to have people buy him what he needs, I tend to make do with what's here. And oh, people, this made-do very well!

Homemade Baked Beans
1 pound white beans
2 slices smoked bacon
6 ounces Harpers country cured ham pieces
1 package frozen seasoning blend (onion, green pepper and celery)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup brewed coffee
1/2 to 1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cone piloncillo sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon Tabasco
Pepper to taste
8 cups water

Rinse the beans, put them in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for an hour. Drain. Snip the bacon into small pieces and saute in a cast iron Dutch oven until crisp. Finely chop ham pieces and add them to the rendered bacon...cook until crisp. Add the frozen seasoning blend and garlic, cover and cook ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans, thyme, celery seed, coffee, barbecue sauce (I love Cattleman's) piloncillo, mustard, molasses and hot sauce. Add pepper and water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Place Dutch oven in a 300 degree oven for two hours, undisturbed. Remove the pot from the oven, uncover and stir the beans. Recover and bake one hour. When the beans are tender, remove the cover and cook until you have a thick, sauce-like consistency. Adjust the seasonings and serve warm or room temperature. (An adjustment: when I made them again the next day, for a picnic, I added 1/4 cup brown sugar and a large can of tomato sauce. Because.)

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