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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bacon Cheddar Baked Beans

When you have time, there is nothing like homemade baked beans!  Slow-baked and full of flavor, these beans will be the hit of any party!  They can be made ahead and finished the next day layered with peppers, onions and cheddar cheese.  
1 lb. navy beans, soaked overnight and drained (reserving 2 cups liquid)
6 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 12-ounce bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, cut into medium julienne
1 small green pepper, cut into medium julienne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese grated
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Fry bacon pieces until crisp, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings.  Drain beans (reserving 2 cups liquid) and rinse well under cold running water.
Place the beans in a large pot or casserole.  Add the bacon pieces, reserved drippings, diced onion, chili sauce brown sugar, mustard, cayenne pepper.  Bring reserved 2 cups bean liquid to a boil and add to beans.  Stir well to combine.  Cover tightly and bake 3-5 hours or until the beans are tender and the liqujid has reduced to a thick sauce.  Check occasionally during the last few hours of baking and add additional boiling water, if needed.  When cooked, let the beans cool completely.
These are perfectly delicious just as they are now, but let's bring them over the top!
While the beans are cooking, prepare the finishing ingredients:  heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Cook the sliced onion, both peppers and season with salt and pepper.  Cook about 15 minutes until quite soft.
To finish the beans, ladle 1/3 of the beans in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with 1/2 of the onion-pepper mixture.
Then half of the cheese
Season with salt and pepper.  Repeat this layer again and top with the last 1/3 of the beans.
Bake at 350 degrees covered, for 30 minutes to one hour or until the beans are bubbling hot.

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