Sunday, June 26, 2022

Joey's Applesauce Baked Beans


 I was recently gifted several pounds of dry beans. Now, if you've read my blog in the past, you know I love a good batch of baked beans, so I figured I'd take all of these beans, soak them overnight, then put up pints of pork and beans using my pressure canner. Perfect! They'll be a welcome addition to my "wall of jars", which proudly displays all of my canning and preserving endeavors.
  My goal was to come up with 20 pints of beans because that's how many jars I can fit in my pressure canner. Great. I soaked them, boiled them, made a fabulous sauce, got all of my canning supplies ready, and then filled up all the jars. They turned out perfectly!!! The only problem was, after I filled my 20 jars, I still had an entire bowl of beans leftover. Well? I guess I'm coming up with another recipe for scratch made baked beans!!
 Usually, when I make my famous baked beans, I just use canned baked beans and then zhuzh them up with bacon and onions and other flavorings. But this time, since I already had the beans all soaked and boiled and ready, I figured why not try something different?
  Then I remembered a BBQ sauce recipe that uses applesauce and molasses as a base, in addition to some of the more usual baked beans ingredients. I thought "how can this not be good?" So I went with it. 
It turned out SO good, I think this is now my go-to recipe when it comes to baked beans from scratch!!
 It's sweet, it's savory, it's tangy, it's rich, it's deep, it's complex, and it all works perfectly well together!!! Btw, the applesauce really does come through and it gives it a light fresh flavor. It was exactly what I wanted!
 So, if you have the time to do your baked beans from scratch, give this recipe a try. I promise you'll love it!!! You're guests will too! Just be careful... if you bring it to a friend's BBQ event, they might ask you to bring it every year!!
1 pound dried navy beans
8 ounces thick cut bacon , diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup plain applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs prepared mustard
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large pot, cover your beans with cold water. Soak the beans over night, up to 24 hours. Drain.
Cover with fresh water and boil for 30 minutes or until beans are tender but not mushy.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the bacon and onions. Drain excess bacon fat, if needed.
Add remaining sauce ingredients. Stir well. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings, if needed. 
Add drained beans. Gently toss to coat beans in sauce. Do this in a large mixing bowl if you need to.
Place all in a large casserole dish or cast iron pan. Top with more bacon, if desired.
Bake uncovered at 350ºF for 45 minutes.

If you prefer a different kind of bean, go for it! Pinto beans, Great Northern beans, any kind will work. Just know that different beans absorb differently. Some beans are VERY thirsty and will drink up everything from your soaking liquid to your boiling liquid to your final sauce. Be sure your beans are good and saucey when you put them into the oven to bake. No one likes dry baked beans!
Btw, when I  made the sauce, I didn't really measure anything. The amounts are really just a guess, all added to taste. If you'd like it sweeter, add more brown sugar. If you'd like it to be a little more tangy, add more cider vinegar. If it's too sweet, add a little more Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Adjust it to how YOU like it!
And one last tip... If you're cooking for a BBQ, you can make them in advance, and then just reheat them for your event. A good way to do this is in your slow cooker. Another big tip is to make enough sauce to reserve a little extra on the side, just in case the beans get too dry.. you can add a little more sauce and they'll be perfect!

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