~ My Bacon-y Bacon-Lovers Baked Beans & Bacon ~
The food world is swarming with bacon lovers. Despite all attempts by the food police to curb our enthusiam for bacon, it is here to stay in a big way. For example. I have three recipes for baked beans: Boston, Hilda's and Bacon-y. All are wonderful recipes, but, Bacon-y are the ones everyone always asks me to make for picnics and tailgates. They are savory and sweet, loaded with smoky bacon goodness, and there is never a morsel left in the casserole.
This is great for me, because of the three recipes they're the easiest to make (no bean soaking). Once the bacon is fried and chopped, the beans take about five minutes to mix together, then bake for about one hour. I like to make them several hours in advance, or even a day ahead, then reheat them, as, like many foods, they taste even yummier the next day.
There is more good news! My Bacon-y Baked Bean recipe has a "sister" recipe that I almost always serve them with. ~ My Rich & Creamy Baked Corn Casserole ~ is just as easy to prepare (five minutes to mix together and then one hour to bake). Both casseroles bake in the same oven, at the same temperature, for about the same amount of time. I call it the "two for one special". You can find my corn casserole recipe in Categories 4, 10, 17, 19 & 20! Ok, here's what you'll need to make these YUMMY bacon-lovers baked beans:
1 40-ounce can butter beans (limas), well-drained
2 28-ounce cans pork & beans, your favorite brand, undrained
1 1/2 pounds, thick-sliced, hickory- or apple-smoked bacon, fried, drained and chopped
1/4 cup bacon drippings, reserved from above
4-6 ounces diced yellow or sweet onion
1 cup ketchup
4-6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4-6 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
no-stick cooking spray
~ Step 1. Feel free to fry your bacon the way you normally would in a skillet, or, follow my recipe for:
~ Crispy Oven-Roasted Bacon w/No Spatter or Mess ~, found in Categories 9, 15 & 20.
Drain the bacon, reserving 1/4 cup of the drippings and set aside.
Chop the bacon into chunky, bite-sized pieces, about 1/2"-3/4" long.
~ Step 2. In a large bowl, place beans, bacon, onions and pepper. In a small bowl stir together the ketchup, mustard, maple syrup and bacon drippings. Add the ketchup mixture to the bowl and using a large rubber spatula, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. Note: This is not a requirement of this recipe, but, at this point, I like to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the beans marinate in the liquid for a few hours prior to baking according to the following directions:
Bake, uncovered, on center rack of 350 degree oven, about 1 hour. Beans will be bubbly and top will be lightly-browned. For more caramelization and thicker texture, reduce temperature to 325 degrees and cook 15-30 more minutes. Remove from oven and rest about 30 minutes prior to serving.
Glisteningly gorgeous going into the oven...
Special Equipment List: 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/4" disposable aluminum broiler pan w/corrugated bottom (or skillet) for preparing bacon; cutting board; chef's knife; very large mixing bowl; rubber spatula; 13" x 9" x 2"/3-quart casserole dish
Cook's Note: Baked beans (just like baked corn) can be prepared/baked several hours and up to 3 days in advance of serving. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Return to room temperature prior to reheating the entire casserole or individual portions in the microwave oven -- leftovers are fantastic!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)