Baked Northern Beans with Rosemary and Mustard

FullSizeRenderTake a break from basic baked beans with this bacon-laced white bean side dish. I’d clipped the recipe from the May 2007 edition of Better Homes & Garden magazine, and had yet to try it out. Since it called for rosemary, and I’m trying to find ways to use up my fresh herbs before the first frost, I finally got around to giving it a whirl. I liked it, but it isn’t a “star” dish. Not everything on the table has to take center stage though, does it? It’s also not terribly gorgeous to look at, as you can see from my sad photo attempt. (I’m really selling you on this one, aren’t I!) It would work for summer barbecue with brats or burgers, and it would also pair well with a winter meal of roast pork, beef, or whatever meat you choose. It’s got that homey, comfort-food vibe going on, so tag this one to make this winter.

The original recipe called for four 16-ounce cans of butter beans or Great Northern beans, but I wanted to use a bag of dry Great Northern beans I had on hand. I’ve also heard that the canned beans are rather high in sodium, so thought it might be a healthier dish if I used the dry beans instead. Directions below include overnight soaking of a bag of beans—which required pre-planning, but wasn’t a ton of prep otherwise. My husband didn’t think the dish was zippy enough, but he’s burned out his taste buds by constantly dousing his food with cayenne pepper. Consider the source. My taste-tester Emily and I thought they were tasty, so I’ll be making these again some time—when my husband’s not home for dinner.

Serves 6-8

1 bag dry Great Northern beans
1 teaspoon salt
8 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) container dairy sour cream (1 cup)
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or Namaste® gluten-free perfect blend
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used 1, but I think it could have used 2)

Rinse dry bean in cold water, and then put in Dutch oven. Cover with cold water, and let soak overnight. Drain off water and add water to 1-inch above beans. Add 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and bring beans to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, or until beans are tender. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. In a skillet, fry bacon over medium heat until crisp. Line plate with paper towels, and place bacon on towels to drain. Let cool. Drain skillet of all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add rosemary, parsley, and black pepper and sauté until fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl. Crumble cooked bacon and add to beans.

In small bowl, whisk together sour cream, chicken broth, flour or gluten-free flour blend, and Dijon mustard. Add to beans and stir until all ingredients are combined. Place in a 2-quart casserole dish and bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Serve.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Can make bean dish and not bake, and then store covered in frig for a day or two. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour before baking.

Baked Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Baked-Beans-IMG_0676I had you at bacon, right? This baked bean dish is one I came up with through years of tweaking, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken or ribs, burgers or brats. The trick is to bake it low and slow—then the flavors really blend together. Next time you’re invited to your friends or neighbors for a barbecue, offer to bring these. You can make ahead a day or two, refrigerate, then bake an hour or two before the event. No last minute prep needed. 

If you want to try to appear classier than you actually are, you can put the beans in individual ramekins for your dinner guests. Then bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serves 6-8

4-6 pieces of bacon
1 large onion, sliced into rings
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 ounce) cans Bush’s baked beans, do NOT drain
1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinse and drain
1 (14 ounce) can butter or cannelloni beans, rinse and drain
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup full-flavored molasses
1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard (or 1 tablespoon prepared mustard)
Dash each salt and pepper

IMG_0668Preheat oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Fry bacon in large frying pan until crisp. (If not cooked until crisp, bacon will turn soft when baked with beans.) Remove cooked bacon to plate lined with paper towels; cool. Add onions to bacon fat and sauté on medium to medium-high heat until onions are golden and caramelized (see photo). Add minced garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes longer, until garlic is golden brown. Drain off any excess bacon fat.

In large bowl, combine all the beans, catsup, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Add in caramelized onion mixture, and crumble bacon on top. Stir again until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into 3-quart baking dish (casserole dish is better than 9″x12″ baking dish), and bake uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until sauce has thickened and darkened in color.

NOTE: If making ahead and refrigerating, let stand at room temp for an hour or so before baking, if possible.

And this recipe may not be low-cal, but it is gluten-free!