Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#TBTrecipe: Aunt AB’s Beef ‘n Beans

Ever just CRAVE the most incidental things that your mom made for dinner?
No matter how much of a “food enthusiast” I become, there are just some things that are at the heart of who I am as an eater.
It all starts with My Momma’s cooking.

My mom is an amazing cook. She comes from a family of amazing cooks. My mother would make a large spread of a meal on Sunday that often included two soups, macaroni and cheese, yams, rice, a protein or two, sometimes an additional casserole or salad, and dessert was always available. This buffet mixed and matched its way by way of leftovers each Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The combinations often seemed endless. Truth be told, It was a genius method of providing home cooked meals for your family. As the week wrapped up, cooking had to ramp back up again. As a working mother, Thursdays and Friday meals had to be quick and easy.

One of our staple Thursday meals was Pork ‘n Beans and Rice. Don’t knock it until you’ve had thick cut bacon, kielbasa sausage, and caramelized onions sautéed in with a couple cans of Campbell’s Pork ‘n Beans served over steaming plain white rice, or as my Momma would say, “Dry White Rice”. Do so and you too will crave this mix out of the blue on some random Thursday. These days I prefer the brand of canned beans that boasts the talking Golden Retriever, but your favorite brand, or leftover homemade baked beans will do.

For this #throwbackthursdayrecipe, I pay homage to my Aunt AB’s version of this Thursday staple.

Aunt AB added her own sass to this dish by cutting out the bacon and sausage, and replacing them with ground beef. I tell you, these flavor work. Ask any college student raised in the South. Not only does it work, I’m not the only one who has placed this recipe on the internet. Google it, Beef Pork and Beans, ha! Our recipe procedures are just slightly different, but I’m sure the nostalgia is very much the same. 

Keeping it Real Disclosure: If you’re going for a healthier route, and you’re not a beef eater, feel free to substitute your protein with any ground meat: chicken or turkey works well. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, the meal can still be yours. Remove all meats, use vegetarian baked beans, and maybe finely dice in some fresh sweet carrots to sauté in with the onions for texture.

#throwbackthursdays are for everyone!

You don’t have to be the slightest bit country to enjoy this dish. The English enjoy their beans on toast; I enjoy mine on “dry white rice”, or in a bowl with a sidecar of cornbread.

Aunt AB’s Beef ‘n Beans

With Love from the Bon Appégeechee Kitchen
Yield: 6 - 8 people Main Course

The Madness: The Ingredients

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white or sweet onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 ½ lbs. of ground chuck beef
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. favorite All Purpose Seasoning
⅛ tsp. ground Kashmiri pepper or cayenne pepper (optional)
1 ½ tsp. ground paprika
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 16oz. cans of baked beans
1 cup of vegetable or beef stock

The Madness: The Assembly

Prepare your vegetables by dicing the onion, and mincing the garlic cloves. Add the seasonings to the ground meat.

Add extra virgin olive oil to a heavy bottomed large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the diced onion pieces 5 – 7 minutes, until they start to become translucent. Add the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic until combined and cooked through without scorching, approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
Once the onions and garlic have cooked through, push them aside in the pan, and then add in the seasoned ground meat. Allow the meat to brown and caramelize on one side before you start to break it stir it in. As the meat begins to cook, break it into the sautéed vegetables. Cook the meat through, approximately 8 – 10 minutes.

If you’re using ground beef or pork, and you see that a bit of oil has accumulated in your pan, drain off as much of the excess fat as you can.

Add in the cans of beans. Stir to combine the beans, meat and vegetables. Add in the stock. Stir to combine. Turn the heat up a little to bring this mixture to a rapid simmer, continue to stir.
Reduce the heat and allow the beans mixture to reduce and thicken over a medium low heat for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.  The addition and simmering down of the vegetable or beef stock removed much if not all of the flavor of using canned beans. This step helps to create a depth of home cooked flavor.

In less than a half hour you have a throwback quick ‘n easy one pot wonder that is sure to make you reminiscent of cozy childhood meals.

As always, Enjoy!
xo, Bon Appégeechee


1 comment:

  1. Such simple comfort food! Foods that remind you of childhood are always the best no matter how refined your palette becomes.