Beans with a Twist
Yeoldfurt doesn't like beans. He grew up on beans. Beans every day, sometimes three times a day and always cooked the same way ...a little salt, a little pepper and pressure cooked until they practically unrecognizable. No wonder he doesn't like beans! But beans are so economical and so nutritious and he trusts me so much after 10 years of marriage (ha!) that he courageously agreed to let me try a few bean recipes on him.
We started with Red Beans & Rice about a year ago. He liked that enough to go back for seconds and even requested it for dinner himself sometimes, so we were off to a good start. A few weeks ago, I found a recipe online for Italian Beans that called for diced canned tomatoes and shredded mozzarella cheese over the beans. I tweaked it (of course) giving a bit of a Southwest flair and came up the following:
Soak 1 cup dried beans overnight in 3 cups water
(I used small red beans, but Anasazi, pintos or navy beans work)
The next day, drain the beans, then add enough water to cover beans plus two inches. Add 1/2 tsp salt and bring them to a hard boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the beans are soft.
When the beans are nearly done, cook four strips of bacon until very crisp, reserving drippings. Saute one medium diced onion and one clove minced garlic in the bacon drippings until soft and translucent.
Chop enough link sausage to make two cups and add them to the sauteed onion and garlic. I like to used the Hillshire Farms Beef Lit'l Smokies because I had them in the freezer and cut them each link in thirds. But bulk link sausage would be more economical. Simmer on low until the sausage is well heated.
Add the sauteed vegetables (including the bacon drippings) and sausage to the beans and mix well.
Stir in one small can Rotel Tomatoes and Chilies, well drained. Let simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
Pour the beans into a large casserole dish. Combine 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the top of the casserole dish.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Serve with a green salad and hot bread or rolls.
This recipe makes about four servings. It is easily doubled or cut in half if you have a larger or smaller family.
Yeoldfurt liked it enough to go back for seconds, so I'm on a roll. : )