Three Bean Bake


Baked beans is a side dish we often find at our summer gatherings. For whatever reason they seem to go well with that hamburger or hotdog although some of us do not like how the sauce creeps over towards our bun or the coleslaw. We have our canned favorite or the long slowly cooked boston bean variety tested and tweaked over the years. Some like it sweet and others savory. For our recent summer get together we decided beans should be on the menu but I was looking for something different. I have recently tried some curry beans that Hienz sells(primarly in the UK) and while I like the flavor I did not think eveyone else in the crowd would. Scouring though some recent summer food magazines I came a across a three bean bake in Cooking Light. The photo looked good and nothing in the recipe looked too scary for our guests so we gave it a try.

The recipe is topped with bacon which is always a plus for baked beans and lots of it. Is there anything that bacon does not go good with. I saw a maple glazed donut with bacon on top at a shop this weekend so that for me confirms everything tastes better with bacon. What attracted me to this recipe was the bean varieties because they are all beans that most people who will eat beans will try as opposed to say a kidney bean. Now there are a lot of ingredients, but nothing that you would not typically have on hand and preparation is easy. You can mix this all together, put it in the casserole dish and wait until it is time to pop it in the oven. Simple, but not as simple as pouring out a can of Bush beans and adding some seasoning of your own.

The results were very good. The flavors and the beans all blended well together. It reheats well for leftovers. The mixture is light on the sauce so it will not be prone to seep over to your bun and make it soggy. We would make this again as a change from the ordinary. It would be a great side to a salad for a full dinner meal as well.

8 Servings
Prep and Cooking Time: 90 minutes

4 hickory-smoked bacon slices, chopped
2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can organic Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Cooking spray

1. Preheat your oven to 325° (if not preparing in advance)
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon to pan, and sauté for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving 1 1/2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Set bacon aside. Add 2 cups onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic to drippings in pan, and sauté for 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool slightly.
3. Combine the tomato sauce and the next 8 ingredients (through red pepper) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in onion mixture and beans. Spoon bean mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with reserved bacon. Cover and bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 30 minutes.

Source: Cooking Light with minor modifications.

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