Today is National Eat Your Beans Day. All things considered, it’s a fair question – have you had your beans today? I don’t know about the rest of the world, but one of the first things that vanished from the grocery store shelves, besides toilet paper, were beans. Canned beans in particular, but dried beans as well.
Why? Oh, that’s easy. Canned goods are easy to store, have a long shelf life. Dried goods are even easier. Beans are a significant source of protein, as well as fiber and iron. Low in fat, high in complex carbohydrates. While meat is also a good source of protein, that requires freezer and refrigerator space if you are going to stock up, or in some cases hoard. Beans were easy to stockpile. Which might explain the run on toilet paper. Just saying.
It wasn’t just the beans, it was pastas and soups and even breads that vanished. Lunch meats and canned meats. Spam was gone! Crazy times that I hope we never see again.
Back to the beans. While there are approximately 40,000 bean varieties in the world, only a fraction of these are mass-produced for regular consumption. This delicious recipe uses four. And the timing is perfect. What goes better with barbecue than a big pot of beans? Tomorrow is barbecue central for most Americans, so beans it is.
Beefy Bacon Four-Bean Bake
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Bell Pepper, any color
1/4 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Molasses
1 tablespoon New Mexican Chili Powder
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 (16 oz) can Butter Beans
1 (16 oz) can Kidney Beans
1 (16 oz) can Pinto Beans
1 (16 oz) can Pork-N-Beans
1/2 lb Bacon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven comes to temperature, brown the beef in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink.
As the meat is browning, peel and dice half of an onion, set aside. Stem, core and chop the bell pepper. Add onions and peppers to the skillet with the meat and continue to cook until vegetables are tender-crisp. Drain any excess grease from the skillet.
Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, molasses, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine. Set skillet aside.
Drain butter beans, kidney beans and Pinto beans. Add beans to the skillet. Empty Pork-N-Beans straight from the can into the skillet. Stir well.
Place bean mixture into a large baking dish. Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 1 hour.
While the beans are baking, dice the bacon. Fry in a skillet over medium heat until just crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Once the beans have baked for an hour, remove foil from the baking dish. Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the beans. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 5 or 6 minutes longer, until everything is heated through.
Serve and enjoy.
Don’t want to heat up the house? That’s okay. Instead of baking in the oven, mix everything together in the bowl of a large slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour, then LOW for another 3 hours. Finish with bacon just before serving.