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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Random Food Fridays - Smoked Meat and Guilty Pleasures

Ahhh. Smoked meat. I know that my ancestors cooked meat over an open flame and likely smoked and/or salted it for preservation. Is there a smoked meat gene? I mean, I've known a few vegetarians who eat bacon. Bacon! (Bacovegetarians?) I suspect it is in most of us to like the smell of smoke and meat. I don't eat meat on a daily basis, but when I do, it has often come into contact with smoke and flame of some sort. We enjoy the great smoked meats from the Roxie Deli in our neighborhood, but we also like putting the burn to our meat at home. One of my favorite guilty pleasures is hot dogs. A good quality dog, juicy and garlicky, is the perfect delivery system for most of my home-canned condiments. A good hot dog is sausage after all.

The meal above features good turkey smoked sausages along with tangy greens and the best baked beans ever. The greens were prompted by my farm box. I had no room in my fridge and needed to cook up a lot of the veggies quick. These greens feature sauteed green apples, shallots and turnips along with the turnip greens and a big bunch of chard. They are seasoned with a bit of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Yum!

The beans are left over from my parent's big 50th wedding anniversary party. I'm the only one who eats beans at my house, so a big pot of beans usually gets made for a big occasion. These also contain enough delicious fat that eating them all by myself would just be a bad idea. I've got to spread the calories around! I made two big crock pots full and had one leftover. If you try this recipe, you can add spice if you like. I knew that I needed to make it mild for the party, so I set a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce on the side. That's the red stuff you see on my dinner.

These beans have so much meat, they are almost anti-vegetarian. I think my vegetarian friends might consider making this dish with a veggie substitute that would add a smoked flavor. I've had good results from adding texturized vegetable protein bacon bits. When they cook in liquid, the texture is very much like real bacon.

Baked Beans
1 lb. of bacon
1 lb. of ground beef
8 oz. ham
1 purple onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 16 oz. can pinto beans
1 16 oz. can great Northern beans
1 16 oz. can red kidney beans
1 16 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 16 oz. can black beans
1 large can baked beans
3/4 cup ketchup (I used my homemade fruit ketchup!)
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Chop the bacon. Cut the ham into small cubes. Heat a large pot and brown the bacon, ground beef and ham together. Do not drain. When the meat is cooked through, sprinkle with the chili powder and garlic powder and stir to combine. Open all the bean cans and drain the kidney and garbanzo beans and add to the meat. Add the remaining beans along with their liquid. Add the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and pepper. Stir to combine. Place bean mixture in a crock pot and set to cook on low all day and eat when it is convenient for you. Serves a whole bunch of people and has numerous calories.

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