Cooler temperatures really do require comforting and hearty foods. Sometimes the simplest of ingredients can truly make the most satisfying of meals. Plus you don’t have to sacrifice good nutrition or big bucks in the process. Those are all qualities of a winning meal in my book!
I am a big fan of beans. I really could eat them everyday, they are so versatile and packed with nutrients. But, I know not everyone likes beans as much as I do…I had some leftover cooked Borlotti beans from Rancho Gordo that I got in San Francisco during the Foodbuzz Food Blogger’s Festival. I needed to use them up, so I asked Roberto how he would like them to be prepared. He asked for “Cowboy Beans”. This comes from his growing up in Italy and watching old American Westerns on TV. In many of the movies, there were scenes of cowboys eating baked beans from a can. So as a child he always wanted to know what those cowboy beans tasted like. He tells me that he never imagined them tasting as good as when I make them. What a sweet husband I have.
I love baked beans, and we make them often at home. My grandmother was famous for her beans. I guess it is a family thing!
My most recent rendition of cowboy beans also included carrots, and potatoes, to stretch the recipe and make extra for leftovers. I slow cooked them with smoked polish sausage. A perfect winter time meal!
1 strip of bacon, chopped
½ a large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small potatoes, chopped
4 small carrots, chopped
1 cup of leftover beans
1 can of tomato paste
1 empty tomato paste can full of water
dash of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 TBS maple sugar or syrup
salt & pepper to taste
1 package of smoked Polish sausage (or any kind of sausage), cut into smaller chunks
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a dutch oven, or large oven proof pot add the bacon and brown. Add onion, garlic, potatoes and carrots, and sautee for about 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the veggies are getting browned, add the beans, tomato paste, water, BBQ sauce, maple and seasoning. Stir until veggies are coated with the sauce. Then add the sausage and put the lid on the pot. Cook at 350 for about an hour. Check to see if more liquid needs to be added. If so, add more water – and then check your seasoning. Cook for another 30 minutes. You can keep the pot simmering at a lower temperature, like 200 F, to keep warm until you are ready to serve. Just keep checking your liquid amounts.
Serves 4 big portions. Less than $3 per serving.