Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bourbon Maple Bacon Baked Beans

My niece and nephew love baked beans.  LOVE THEM.  I'm not sure why or how this happened, but if you find something a kid will eat, you give it to them.  However, I'm all about making things from scratch, as those canned goods are full of all sorts of stabilizers, thickeners, and other unidentifiables.  So I needed to develop a recipe.  A recipe that wasn't just as bad as the cans because it included ketchup or barbecue sauce.  I know the recipe list looks long, but I promise a big chunk of it is just spices to give the beans their yummy flavor.  The little muchkins gobbled this up and asked for more, so I think that's about the highest praise a recipe can get.

Note: There's a little bourbon in these for the flavor.  It's completely safe for children, as the alcohol cooks out during the long period in the oven, but you can absolutely leave it out anyway.

Bourbon Maple Bacon Baked Beans

8 slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup honey
½ cup real maple syrup
3 teaspoons liquid smoke
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground yellow mustard
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
¼ cup bourbon (optional)
3 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crispy and fat is rendered.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop bacon onto a paper towel to drain.  Keep two tablespoons of bacon fat in the pot and discard the rest.  Add the onions to the bacon fat and cook until the onion is translucent.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.  Add half of the cooked bacon and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Pour beans into a casserole dish and top with the remaining bacon.  Cook, covered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until beans are slightly saucy and bubbling.

Makes 8 servings

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