Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bourbon Baked Beans #BloggerCLUE

Tangy, spicy, rich, and loaded with bacon, these bourbon spiked baked beans are the perfect side dish for a barbecue or even to serve as the main course with a loaf of crusty bread.

I must confess that here in Dubai, we don’t grill as often during the summer as we do the rest of the year because with temperatures that soar into the 120s°F (49-50°C) the last thing we want to do is light a fire and stand over it. But an assignment is an assignment and this month’s Blogger C.L.U.E. theme is “barbecue and grilling.” So I headed over to learn more about Lisa, the talented writer, photographer and cook behind Authentic Suburban Gourmet and poke around in her blog, as instructed, to hunt for dishes that fit our theme. A search for the word “grill” turned up eight pages of recipes! Clearly this bonafide Bay Area foodie, as Lisa refers to herself, is keen on grilling everything from peaches to cauliflower to flank steak. I was just about choose one of those lovely dishes and take one for the team when that same search for “grill” revealed this flavorful baked bean recipe with barbecue sauce. Sure, I'd have to turn the oven on, but that’s why, on the eighth day, God created air conditioning for the great indoors.

The only ingredient changes I made to Lisa’s recipe were to start with dried beans instead of canned (but I’ll leave both amounts in case canned is easier for you – just rinse them well) and I added a couple of hot peppers. Because we like that kind of heat all year long. She didn’t say what sort of vessel to bake them in so I took the liberty of inaugurating my brand new bean pot (Isn't it pretty?) and sealing the loose-fitting lid with a flour-water dough.

1 1/2 cups or 315g dried white beans = 4 1/2 cups cooked beans or 3 cans (15 oz 425g) white beans
8 slices smoked bacon
1 large onion
2 hot red chilies - optional
1 cup or 240ml ketchup
1 cup or 240ml traditional barbecue sauce (I used one labeled BOLD.)
1/4 cup or 60ml bourbon
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: dough seal for bean pot
1 cup or 125g flour
Lukewarm water to make soft dough (I used about 1/2 cup or 120ml.)

If you are going to cook your own beans, pick through them carefully and remove any stones or small clumps of dirt and any beans that have holes or discolorations. Even the best quality beans might have stones since they are usually sorted by machines and the occasional non-bean gets through. Either soak them overnight in cool water or cover them amply with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and leave to soak for one hour.

After an hour covered with boiling water: All plumped up.

If you are using canned beans, pour them into a colander and rinse well.

When soaking time is over, pour off the bean water and put the beans in a pot, covered with fresh cool water. Bring to the boil then lower the flame to simmer and cook the beans until they are tender. Depending on how old (and, therefore, dried) your beans are, this could take an hour or an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, you can get on with the rest of the dish. Chop your onion finely. Do the same with the hot peppers, if using. Cut the bacon into small strips.

Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove it from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and place on some paper towels to drain. I highly recommend hiding this bacon bounty or you might find it all gone before the beans are tender if you leave it irresistibly, invitingly exposed on the kitchen counter.

Spoon or pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat from the frying pan (I recommend saving the fat in a jar in the refrigerator for another use.) then use that same frying pan to sauté the chopped onions and peppers until they are softened.

When your beans are tender, drain them and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Tender beans

Put your cooked or rinsed canned beans in your bean pot or another ovenproof dish. Measure out the rest of your ingredients and add them into the bean pot or dish.

Don’t forget to add in the bacon, onions and chilies.

Stir everything well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you are using a casserole dish, bake it in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

If you are using a bean pot, you might want to add a dough seal. Simply put your flour in a small bowl and add enough lukewarm water to form a soft dough. Knead it for a few short minutes.

Roll the dough into a long snake that will reach right the way around the circumference of your bean pot lid. Secure it by pressing it to the rim of the bean pot itself. Gently lay the lid on top and press ever so slightly down.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then loosen the dough seal with a pointy knife.

Remove the lid and serve up the bourbon baked beans!


Whether you are looking for great grilling recipes or dishes to make for a barbecue, our Blogger C.L.U.E. (Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat) Society has got you covered this month.

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