Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pork and Beans gets a Makeover

BBQ... America loves it.  And what's our favorite side dish?  Why pork and beans, of course.

Many of us eat pork and beans right out of the can, or perhaps even a gussied-up canned version. And that's probably exactly what you get, even in many restaurants.  Let's face it, even though we may like them, canned pork and beans has some ingredients that are, well, not the best for our health.

But pork and beans does contain at least one ultra-healthy food-- beans--which makes it a potentially healthy dish.  We thought it would be worth tweaking this beloved American favorite to up the health factor and lower the processed food factor.  Out with the bad and in the with the great tasting, good-for-your body, inflammation-fighting, healthy stuff.

Actually, it's not the can that's the enemy.  In fact, for convenience, this recipe remake starts with canned white beans*. The enemy is the preservatives, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates and pesticides you find in the ready-made canned pork and beans.  So here's our cleaned up version, and by the way, it tastes great.

*If you're a purist and have the time, you could certainly start totally from scratch and make your white beans from dry beans.

Pork and Beans

2 16 ounce cans organic white beans (or make your own from dry beans)
1 T Dijon
1/4 t turmeric
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c homemade ketchup see here
2 T coconut palm sugar
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 small-medium organic onion chopped medium fine
1/2 organic green bell pepper chopped fine
6 slices nitrate and antibiotic free uncured bacon  (or, if  you can used uncured organic turkey bacon with no nitrates, but it real pork bacon tastes better!)

Rinse the beans thoroughly, drain them and put them in a dutch oven or pyrex dish.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the bacon, to the beans and mix together.  If you want your beans to be extra saucy, add more catsup and worcestershire.  Place the bacon strips over the beans in a basketweave pattern (see photo).  Bake the beans at 400 degrees for an hour.  If the bacon looks like it needs a little more browning, put the oven on broil and leave the pan in for another 5 minutes.  Do not overcook or the beans will become dry.  

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