March 31-April 3 Fakey Bakey Beans

March 30   Panko pork chops
April 1       Panini with leftover orange cumin pork, spicy marmalade mayo, arugula, brie with
                  home made Portuguese corn bread
April 2       Baked Beans and Meatloaf from Supperworks
April 3       Dinner Out

This was a really pork heavy week with pork chops, pork paninis and then baked beans with bacon but you know what? Pork makes everything okay.

I was looking for things to make in my new Le Creuset but it's really huge and I will have to save it for large batch cooking, like the baked beans from scratch I was going to attempt. This is something I have never done even though we eat baked beans quite often but I make "doctored up" baked beans like my mom did. My mom tried to make baked beans once using dried beans and they were terrible that I think I was traumatized for life by them. Her doctored up canned baked beans were so fabulous there was no need to ever try that again. There are only a handful of things that my mom cooked that I loved enough to really crave them and her baked beans are one of those things.

I have changed the ingredients from my mom's ketchup and brown sugar to Bull's Eye bbq sauce and molasses and sometimes I add chipotle in adobo or maple syrup. I like to change it up a bit but I still really, really like the end result when I start with canned baked beans. Yes, I am a food snob. Yes, I like to eat real, whole foods as much as humanly possible but this is total comfort food for us and I am not emotionally ready to attempt beans from scratch yet AND I don't want to make a giant batch of them in case we hate them.

I found a recipe on Pioneer Woman that appears to be a recipe by Pam Anderson and I liked the method of pre cooking the bacon and then sautéing the onion in the fat so I adapted that recipe to make these beans and Shack and I loved them. Little Shack said he didn't care for them for some reason because he usually loves baked beans and the only thing I did that was totally new, apart from frying the onion in bacon fat, which nobody in their right mind could not like, was the addition of a tiny bit of vinegar.

MamaShack's Fakey Bakey Beans
serves 4
adapted from a Pam Anderson recipe i found on Pioneer Woman

4 slices of bacon, cut in half
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery finely diced
2 14oz cans of baked beans (I used one can of Heinz Chipotle BBQ and one can of Pork and Tomato Sauce)
1/3 cup bbq sauce (I use Bulls Eye)
2 tbls molasses
1 tbls yellow mustard
2 tbls cider vinegar

I used an enamelled cast iron pot so I could do it all in one pot. If you are going to bake the beans in a different vessel, you will have to transfer it all over after everything is done and it's ready for the oven.

preheat the oven to 325 and put the middle rack down a spot to the middle bottom if you can.

Over medium heat, cook off the bacon until it's partially cooked and renders a lot of the fat. Remove the bacon and keep at least a tbls (or all of it if you really like bacon) of bacon fat in the bottom. Throw in the onion, celery and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the canned beans, the bbq sauce, molasses, yellow mustard and cider vinegar and stir well. Taste it and see if it needs anything else. It's really up to you how smoky/sweet/spicy you want your beans. This is the way I like them.

Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat, lay out the strips of bacon over the top and put it in the oven and cook for up to 2 hrs. The traditional way to eat them is to let them get really thick but some people like their beans a little more soupy so if you are a soupy person, keep an eye on them after the first hour and take them out when they get to a thickness you like. If you like them really thick, leave them in for the whole two hours.

The Beans That Made Shack a Happy Boy