The above picture is a little bowl of hearty goodness. Even if you are not a baked beans fan, this recipe is a standout dish that you will want to make frequently. It has already been added to my list of summer menus, and I have plans to bring it as a side for at least one pot-luck supper this summer.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is something familiar without being too new. Anyone can open a can of baked beans and add it to a meal. I do this myself on occasion. I just doctor them up with a bit of mustard, maybe some onions, a hint of barbecue sauce, and presto chango! You have wonderful...well...modified canned beans. But these! The only shortcut is using plain canned beans as the base instead of soaking them overnight and cooking them yourself. Otherwise they are a from scratch recipe that you can be proud to make, proud to serve, and proud to eat since they taste like it took you hours to prepare them, but of course you didn't.
These are not super spicy so they can easily be served with just about anything you can think of! Even an Easter ham dinner! Although please do NOT bring them to your grandmothers Sunday brunch. Bring these instead and save the beans for another day.
Root Beer Baked Beans
Adapted from Bon Appetit
These beans are truly 'baked' giving them wonderful texture. This recipe can easily be made a day ahead. Just reheat them gently in the microwave when needed.
1/2 lb bacon, diced
2 large onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle or can of good quality root beer (preferably made with cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup)
3 T apple cider vinegar
3 T molasses
2 T tomato paste
2 T Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
In a dutch oven, large cast iron skillet, or other oven proof pan, saute the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. If there is a lot of grease in the pan, pour off all but a few tablespoons. Add the onions and saute over medium low heat until they start to soften. Add garlic and saute just until fragrant. Add all the rest of the ingredients including the cooked bacon and stir to incorporate. Carefully place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir the beans and taste for seasoning.