Grilling season will soon be underway. One basic of the cook-out is baked beans. But making them from scratch is a long, hard job, nothing anyone wants to do on a warm day. There’s nothing wrong with canned baked beans, but they are begging for improvement. Fortunately, they are versatile enough to take a good dose of personalization.
The mixture of seasoning and beans creates a smoky, spicy, and rich filling as a nutritious base for many dishes. Another simple but tasty trick, mixing beans with aromatics like chopped garlic or sliced scallions to elevate their flavor
You can either vamp it up on the stove top, or better, in an oven after you have mixed in a few of your own touches.
Honey and Dijon Mustard. Swirl in a few tablespoons of each.
Caramelized onion, bacon and Espresso powder. This takes a little more effort, but it is worth it. For those who have not thought of espresso powder as an ingredient, you are missing out on great new flavors. In the store, this is usually with instant coffees. First, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in a bit of olive oil, about two tablespoons. Slice the onions as thinly as you can. Sauté them until they are brown and sweet. Add in a few slices of bacon. We like the thick-cut, smoked type for this. Cook until crispy. Then add in the beans. As you stir to combine, scrape any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Adobo Sauce, Chorizo, Cilantro and Sour Cream. You can find Adobo sauce in a can in the international aisle. This will give your beans a Mexican twist. Chorizo is a spicy Mexican sausage available in most supermarkets these days. The cilantro should be freshly chopped. Put you beans in a pot over medium low heat. Add in two or three teaspoons of Adobo sauce. Crumble the chorizo into the skillet mixture and stir. Pour into your serving dish and top with sour cream, garnished with chopped cilantro.
Fire-roasted tomatoes, Little Smokies mini sausages, Chopped Parsley. Tomatoes add a luscious flavor that combines well with the little smoked sausages. You could also cut up a regular smokes sausage. Roasting tomatoes can be done on the grill outside, or on an open burner (if you have a gas stove). You don’t want to completely cook them, just get a bit of char on the outside and warming the juicy inside. We recommend using cherry tomatoes for ease of handling. Finish the dish with some bright green herbs, like parsley.
Herbs, Breadcrumbs and Cheese. This gratin style dish makes a good presentation. Empty the canned beans into a casserole dish, something that can handle broiler heat (so no Pyrex, ceramic works best). Mix the breadcrumbs with some of the chopped herbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the beans. Add a layer over that of shredded cheese, cheddar is recommended. Put the dish under the broiler until the top is golden brown and crisp. Garnish with chopped parsley.
If you have any ideas for baked bean add-ins to elevate the common dish, please enter the comments below. Go beyond emptying a couple can of baked beans in a dish and say it’s ready to go. That is so a Bachelor move.