Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Most Exceptional Three Bean & Bacon Medley

I made pizza a few days back. It was good, but my husband is the pizza fanatic in our house. I was getting tired of it. He will eat it as leftovers for days. I was really craving something fresh, but also something more hearty. I made both. I was thinking of making the macaroni salad that I posted yesterday. It was fresh in my mind, and sounded good. Still, I was trying to get away from all the useless carbs from the pizza, so why switch to macaroni? Beans! Beans would be just what I wanted.

Three Bean & Bacon Medley

I had been meaning to make a batch of black beans for weeks. I just don't seem to get to it, and I prefer the flavor when they are made in the crock pot. Meaning that I must get them into the pot no later than 9 AM to have them cooked through by 4 PM to fry some onion and mix them together before dinner. I love black beans. My husband is also a fanatic for beans, but they must be the "pork and beans" kind, meaning in a tomato-based sauce and sweet. I do love pork and beans also. I just have more varied tastes than he does, and having lived in Guatemala for 12 years gave me a real love for black beans. 

Long and short, I had no black beans simmering away all day, so what next? I do keep cans of various kinds of beans in my pantry. If I decide to make chili on the spur of the moment, I have kidney beans. If I feel like hummus, I have cans of chickpeas, and on and on like that. So I went to stand in the pantry and peruse my options. I wondered if I could make a mixture of beans that could simulate a nice pork and bean type mixture. I picked up cans of kidney beans, pinto bean and garbanzo beans. I also picked up a can of corn, thinking to mix that in, but changed my mind on the corn.

Three Bean & Bacon Medley
My husband's love of ketchup would have him more than happy if I used all ketchup to make the sauce for these beans, but I didn't want to go there quite so avidly. I took a can of tomato sauce also, along with a little can of mild green chilies. Now I had the basics, so it was a matter of deciding how to embellish and make these more exciting. I was inspired, I guess, because while my husband still ate leftover pizza, he also ate a large bowl of these beans. He said afterwards that I should hang onto this recipe with my life, because they were the best beans, EVER! That is quite the compliment. I am pleased. I loved them as well, and really overindulged. Between us, we ate 2/3 of the pot full. As a regular side dish, it should feed far more! It ended up being my main dish for dinner, along with some cole-slaw.

Three Bean & Bacon Medley

Three Bean & Bacon Medley

serves 6 to 8

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans
1 (15.5 ounce can pinto beans
4 - 5 ounces bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Empty the cans of beans into a large colander and run cold water over them repeatedly, until they stop foaming. Set them aside to drain. In a 6 quart pot, fry the bacon over medium to medium low heat until about halfway done. Add in the onion and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onion is well softened and translucent and the bacon is cooked through. If there is more than a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot, drain some of it, or use a paper towel to soak up some of the grease to discard.

Add in the green pepper and stir for a few minutes, then add in all the remaining ingredients and stir well. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to meld the flavors. Serve hot.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.