Our guest today is MJ at MJ’s Kitchen
MJ can make chiles 10 ways from Sunday, she has a real flair for Southwest cooking. Don’t think everything she makes is spicy, her thoughtfully crafted recipes emphasis the unique flavor and nuance of chiles, not just heat. While she enjoys a wide variety of local chiles in New Mexico, she is always keen to help source these flavors for ourselves in her Kitchen Notes following each recipe. Easy recipes with a Southwestern flair is exactly the reason I began following MJ’s Kitchen, her neighborly style made me a fan.
Beans, Bacon and Chipotle – What’s not to love?
Hello to the readers and friends of Savoring Today! I’m MJ of MJ’s Kitchen, a spicy little blog in New Mexico, USA. When Judy asked me to help her out while she recuperates and returns to better health, I was quite thrilled to have been asked and was more than happy to help. I love Savoring Today and all of its wonderful recipes and of course—its gracious host.
In deciding what to share with you today, I was looking for something that reflected my love of sweet and spicy and as fate would have it, along came these sweet and spicy beans. Beans, Bacon and Chipotle evolved as the solution to a pot of overcooked navy beans. About twice a month I pressure cook a simple pot of dried beans and then use the beans in a variety of dishes. Because I’ll be recooking the beans in another dish, my normal process is to undercook the beans just a bit and then finish cooking them in the final dish. Last week when I cooked up a pot of navy beans, I overcooked them; therefore, I had to come up with a dish with a short cooking time. The recipe I’m sharing with you today did the trick.
Beans, Bacon and Chipotle is a relative simple dish with flavors similar to those of baked beans, but better in my opinion. It’s not near as sweet as baked beans and if you have the beans cooked already, it takes less than 30 minutes to make. Chipotle powder gives the dish the “spicy” as well as provides a nice smoky complement to the bacon. Maple syrup is added to provide the “sweet”. Serve a bowl of these beans with a nice salad or piece of cornbread for a complete meal, or as a side to baked ham, grilled chicken or your favorite sandwich.
- 4 ounces slab bacon*, diced
- 2 to 3 cups cooked navy (or any white) bean, drained (reserve the liquid)
- 1 cup minced onion
- ½ cup minced red bell pepper
- ¼ tsp. crushed dried thyme
- ½ tsp. crushed dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp. bourbon or Apple cider
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. chipotle powder*
- Salt to taste
- *See Kitchen Notes
- Add the diced bacon to a hot skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the bacon starts to turn brown and gets somewhat crispy on the edges. Carefully drain all but about 1-2 Tbsp. of the drippings from the skillet.
- Return the skillet to the heat, reduce heat to medium low, and add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Stir in the thyme and oregano.
- Add the bourbon and stir quickly to incorporate it with the bacon and vegetables. (Most of the bourbon will burn off.)
- Add the ketchup, maple syrup and chipotle powder. Stir to combine well.
- Add the beans and stir to coat with the sauce. Reduce heat to low. Add ½ cup of the reserved liquid (or ½ cup water). Stir and continue to heat through.
- Let the beans heat through for about 3 to 5 minutes. If they start to get too thick, add a little more water.
- Taste. Add salt if needed.
- Serve immediately.
Bacon – Slab bacon may be hard to find, but it’s well worth the hunt. The little diced pieces give you something to bite into. If you can’t find slab bacon then use a thick, sliced bacon and cut into small pieces. Don’t worry about trimming the fat. You’ll be rendering it and then pouring off most of the fat once cooked. Diced smoked ham can also be used in placed of bacon. However, if you use ham, you don’t need to render the fat, just add the ham about a minute before you add the beans.
Chipotle Powder – Chipotle powder is quite common in my area but I understand that in some places, it’s hard to find. As a substitute you could use one to two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (Two peppers yield a very spicy bean dish!) If you can’t find chipotle of any kind, then any smoked chile pepper would work. Smoked paprika would provide the smokiness of the chipotle but without the heat. Smoked serrano or ancho powder would provide both heat and smoky flavor.
The Liquid – If the beans are too thick for your preference, add a little more liquid. I usually end up adding about ½ cup of the liquid from the beans. Hope you enjoy these Sweet and Spicy Beans!
Thank you again Judy for having me as a guest. I hope that your recovery is quick and that you’re back on your feet in no time.