I was going through my recipes today, trying to decide what kind of side dish to make for a cookout, and I came across this little number. I've never made baked beans with root beer, but why not? Sounds awesome. And with the other fun spices, this turned out a pretty complex baked bean dish. Definitely going in the rotation, especially since my nephew actually ate some. Beans - 1, nephew hunger strike - 0.
Note: This recipe calls for cannellini beans, but I honestly think they're too big. Next time I would use some plain 'ol navy beans. Also, the original recipe says this takes 30 minutes to cook, but I like my bean sauce thick, so I left it in the oven for another half an hour until it was just the way I like it.
Root Beer Baked Beans
From Aarti Sequeira
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (12-ounce bottle) root beer, such as IBC
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons molasses
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Hefty pinch red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon garam masala
2 (14-ounce cans) cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Set a medium oven-safe pot over moderate heat and add bacon. Cook until most of the fat is rendered out and the bacon is crisp. Prepare a plate with paper towels, and using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pot to the plate. Set about a quarter of the bacon aside, for garnish.
Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the pot, and sauté until soft and golden. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste deepens in color, about another minute.
Next add the root beer, cider vinegar, molasses, grainy mustard, red pepper flakes, and garam masala. Stir to combine. Then add the beans and bacon, and gently stir so the beans don't lose their shape. Taste for salt and pepper, then pop into the oven, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, about 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the beans from the oven, let cool slightly, and sprinkle with reserved bacon and serve.
Makes 6 servings