Monday, May 29, 2023

Joey's Slow Cooker Cowboy Franks and Beans

  I was recently in one of those moods where I just wanted to throw a bunch of things together and see where it lands. Since I've been on a slow cooker kick lately, I figured I'd stick with it. Then I just started throwing things in. This is basically how it went:
 I knew I wanted to do an embellished hot dogs and beans dish, and I remembered seeing one on The Spruce Eats blog... so I kind of had that in mind as a flight heading.....  I cut up a package of hot dogs and threw in some home canned pork and beans. What else... oh! smoked sausage would be perfect... and maybe I'll add some red beans.. great... Needs some aromatics... ok... chopped onions and peppers.. garlic? sure, why not. hmm... what else... something to make it saucy.... BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, molasses, maple syrup... just a little of each...moving right along... now, what about spices... chili powder? yes, but not too much... cumin for a little Cowboy flare..... salt and pepper..  do I want any more heat? hmm... maybe not this time... OK, now give it a taste... good, but not sweet enough... oh! brown sugar! duh, can't have baked beans without brown sugar.... another taste... just a little more salt...MUCH better. Now I'll just let it cook all afternoon while I'm at work, and when I get home I'll whip up a corn bread. 
 That's literally the flight of ideas leading up to this dish. It turned out SO GOOD! I had thought about pouring it over mashed potatoes, but this time I'll just serve it with some corn bread. 
 Could I have added bacon? Yup. How about some heat like a minced jalapeno or serrano pepper.. or just plain crushed red pepper flakes...absolutely... could I have made it more substantial by adding potatoes? or even some browned ground beef? Definitely.  The point is I was cooking flavors that I like in a way that sounded good to me. So, for the people who say they don't know how to cook... take it from me... it can be as easy as throwing a bunch of things into a  slow cooker and seeing where it lands!!

1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg (8) beef hot dogs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb smoked pork sausage, cut into coins
1 28oz can pork and beans
1 15oz can red beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
That's literally all there is to it. 


If you'd like, you can brown the meat in a saute pan before adding to the slow cooker, but I didn't. Full disclosure, I just didn't feel like washing another pan. I bet it would add a nice depth of flavor, tho. maybe next time.
Try any beans you like. Black beans, white beans, pinto beans...any will work!
Instead of the slow cooker... 
you can also just simmer in a heavy cast iron Dutch oven pot on the stove over low heat for about an hour.Just give it a stir e ery so often to make sure it's not burnt on the bottom.
You could also do a Shepherd's Pie sort of vibe.  Place the meat and bean mixture in a casserole dish. Spread some mashed potatoes over the top and then cover with shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake another 15-20 minutes until it's heated through and the cheese is melted.

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