Monday, October 8, 2012

Apple Baked Navy Beans With Smoked Pork

Frugal alert!  By this time, you all know I like to make the most of menu-planning and budget-stretching.  Just yesterday, I struck gold. It was a rich vein of mahogany, made-from-scratch, beautiful navy beans, sweet with flecks of smoked pork (yep, from the Spiced Apple Balsamic Smoked Pork Loin I made last week!) and accented with fresh apple, apple butter, apple cider and then made zippy with mustard and onion in a sweet and savory counter-tempo.

What's frugal about that?  For starters, navy beans are cheap, cheap, cheap and I already had the cider and apple butter from the smoked pork roast!  Apples?  I've always got apples on hand from Shenot's at this time of year, especially when my favorite Stayman Winesaps are in season.  

Back when I was a kid (and dinosaurs roamed the earth), Winesaps were my dad's favorite...he KNEW his apple varieties!  To this day, I don't think there is a crisper, juicier, more flavorful apple out there. The kids crave this late season variety, too, so the autumn tradition of looking forward to - and buying - Winesaps continues.

Now don't go thinking these pork n beans are just like the canned ones.  Nope.  Not even close.  These aren't your typical tomato-y, mushy, overly sweet, tinny tasting things you find on grocery store shelves. These have character!  Campbell's and Bush's, eat your heart out!

Not that I have anything against canned beans....they make a fine, quick casserole when doctored, bacon covered and baked.  Just don't ask me to eat them plain out of the can and heated up on top of the stove.  Those things aren't even close to acceptable in this house!

High in protein and with the addition of the pork, these beans are hearty enough to be served just with a salad and maybe some buttered cornbread, too.  Want something more substantial?  Serve them as a side dish like in the photo above with grilled chicken and a veggie.

What?  You still have apple butter and cider left after making the pork loin AND the beans?  Maybe you have just enough left (and a little tequila, too) to make a Margarita.  Sound good?  You're in luck!  There just happens to be a recipe for our Apple Cider Margarita right here on Dinner Plan-it!  Cheers!

Apple Baked Navy Beans With Smoked Pork

  • 1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight according to package directions

  • 1/2 large onion, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider, the good farm fresh stuff!
  • 1/3 cup apple butter
  • 1/3 cup molasses, unsulphured
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 cup pork, leftover smoked or roasted pork (or ham)
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced

Drain beans and mix with the remaining ingredients.  Pour into a deep casserole dish or a bean pot with a lid, if you have one.  If you don't have a lid, cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven for about 3 hours (more or less) until the beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, but not dry.  Moisten, if necessary, while they're baking with a little apple cider.    

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