June 7, 2017

Sweet And Spicy Baked Beans

Yadda yadda moved cross-country, globe-trotted, got a new
job, had it catch up to me. The point is, I'm back now. You
can tell from how you're actively reading my words right now.
So Summer came early. You can tell from the sweltering heat, rampant humidity, and annoying people with giant floppy hats. If your hat is large enough to cast shade upon an entire family of woodland creatures, I probably have no interest in talking to you. The point is, it's hot outside. And when it's hot outside, humans tend to throw barbecues so that we can eat our food out in all of that heat. Instead of inside, where we have things like air conditioning, and a somewhat less-dense mosquito population. Leading brand-name scientists believe that this is part of an important evolutionary trend known as "doing stupid things because they're expected of you." It weeds out the independent thinkers and radicals from our population so that they can go on to do the truly important work of furthering humanity's intake of McNuggets. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that you're going to get invited to barbecues, you're going to be expected to bring a side dish, and people will have already called dibs on bringing easy/obvious things like chips or potato salad. Welcome to baked bean country.


1 lb. dried Pinto Beans 
28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 largish Onion 
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Rubbed Sage (Despite how it sounds, this is a real thing. You can buy it in supermarkets.)
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Chipotle Pepper
Olive Oil, for the sautéing and whatnot
An unspecified amount of Salt
An equally unspecified amount of Water

So....that's a lot of ingredients. Some people might look at a long list of ingredients and become disheartened, thinking that the recipe is going to be incredibly labor-intensive and tricky to pull off. Others might see it as a challenge they can rise to, to really prove to themselves that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. Still others might think, "it's beans. How hard can it actually be?" These are the smart ones. Step one is to unceremoniously dump your beans into a large pot, which you'll then fill with water. Cover the pot, and let your beans soak for about 8-12 hours. While you totally have the option of using this time to sleep, or go to work, if you hover nearby your beans the entire time, eschewing responsibilities, common sense, and basic hygiene, you'll receive valuable bonus points that can later be exchanged for fantastic prizes (Prizes like eviction notices, cardboard box forts, and hepatitis). Once your beans have finished their soak, drain the water away, and replace it with exciting new water, to confuse and disorient your beans. Now it's time to strike. Turn the heat on to medium, and boil the crap out of your beans for an hour. Put a lid on the pot so that none escape.

I had something for this, but then I saw the deliciousness
and kind of lost my train of thought. 
While your beans are being viciously boiled, it's time to make the...everything else, I guess. Choppity chop up your onion and sauté it in your oil along with an average sized human's pinch of salt. Let it cook down until the onion gets translucent and starts to smell awesome. Then mince your garlic and add it in to the party. After a minute of stirring and salivating from the smell, add in your...all the other ingredients. I mean, chop up your chipotle pepper before you dump it in. But really, just toss everything in the pot along with a largish person's (Roughly Conan O'Brien sized) pinch of salt, and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. By now your beans should be killed to death, so take their corpses along with 1/2 a cup of the water you boiled them in, and dump them in to your sauce. Set it on medium heat and cook it for 10-20 minutes, or until it starts to look thick and kind of sticky. And delicious and whatnot. And that's it! Delicious baked beans, perfect to accompany any meal, indoors or stupid. Happy early summer!

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