Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Cheap Baked Beans
Servings = 10 - 12
Time = approx. 2.5 hrs (30 min active)

2 c dry black beans, rinsed
2 c dry pinto beans, rinsed
14 c hot water, divided
2 tsp salt, divided
1 lb bacon ends
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/3 c ketchup
1/2 c molasses
1/4 brown sugar
2 T mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large stock pot, add beans, 8 cups hot water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil; boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let soak 1 hour. Drain and rinse. Return beans to stock pot. Add 6 cups hot water and bring to boil. Simmer 1 -1.5 hours or until desired consistency. Drain and return beans to stock pot.

While the beans are cooking, fry bacon ends until crispy - cool on paper towel. Drain the grease, but don't clean pan. In the remaining bacon grease, fry onion and green pepper until just tender.
When the beans are done cooking, tear bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the beans along with the onions, green peppers, 1 tsp salt and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust molasses, sugar, salt and/or pepper. Simmer for 10 more minutes to let the flavors meld.

Notes - Dried beans are very economical and easy to store in bulk. You can get bacon ends at your local butcher. Bacon ends are the parts of the bacon cut off when those lovely strips are made - the ends are cheaper than the strips. You can also use plain sugar rather than brown sugar, which is a little cheaper. These baked beans freeze well. I make a batch and freeze half in individual servings for a quick meal another time.

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