Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bacon Crumb Topped Baked Beans

I realize this isn't the most appealing picture in the world, but it is very difficult to make a bowl of brown baked beans look gourmet-worthy.  Let me tell you though, these beans are worth the effort to put together from scratch.  They actually go together very quickly and then need to bake for 2 or more hours, depending on how thick one likes their baked beans.

What takes this dish light years ahead of the canned variety is:  1) the complex flavor from all of the components, and 2) the bacon crumb topping.  If you could have all smelled my house while these were cooking!  It was like walking into the best of barbecue joints (of which we have none in my town).  I made the bread crumb topping the day before which made things extra speedy when I cooked these.  I think the whole dish could be made the day before if these were to be served at a gathering and then just reheated the day of the event.

Personally I found them a wee bit on the spicy side, even though I cut back on the red pepper flakes by half of what is called for so be forewarned.  As you start planning your family gatherings or barbecues for the summer, put this on your list of must-have-dishes. 

P.S.  After a 5 days of eating  these leftover baked beans The Husband said "These are the best thing ever."  So there you have it. 

Bacon Crumb Topped Baked Beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces smoked ham or tasso, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups ketchup
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 15-ounce cans navy beans, drained, rinsed
4 ounces bacon (4–5 slices)
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large heavy wide pot over high heat; add ham, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add ketchup, next 6 ingredients, and 4 cups water to pot; season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sauce simmer until slightly thickened, 10–15 minutes. Stir beans into sauce.

Cover and bake beans until juices are bubbly and thickened, about 2 hours. (It took mine 2 1/2 hours)

Meanwhile, place bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven until crisp, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let bacon cool and reserve 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings separately.
Coarsely crumble bacon; place in a food processor with reserved drippings and panko; pulse until bacon is finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove beans from oven. Preheat broiler. Sprinkle beans with bacon breadcrumbs. Broil, uncovered, until crumbs are golden brown, 8–10 minutes.

1 comment:

whack patti said...

Better than "Jean's Beans" ?