Sunday, September 05, 2021

Uncle Jack’s Famous Baked Beans

Uncle Jack's famous baked beans

Like most food blogs, this recipe starts with a story. 

Uncle Jack introduced me to food. 

My mother was a serviceable cook, preparing family food that catered to my father's limited preferences and his demand that each dinner entree was prepared as before, without variation. Food was never an adventure. 

On one of my Florida vacations to visit Uncle Jack, he prepared Kasha and Bowties. It was unlike the dish my mother prepared; mushy noodles and desiccated kasha kernels. His noodles were al dente, and the kasha was moist, with a mushroom gravy. 

I had no idea that an adequately-prepared food could be slightly modified to produce a delicious dish. When I told him I was impressed with his cooking, he brought me into his kitchen. He loved to cook, and never treated it as a chore. To him, cooking was an enjoyable activity as well as a way to express personal creativity. 

Of the various meals he prepared, my favorite was his baked beans recipe. The first time I made used his recipe, I brought it to an friend's annual pot-luck barbecue. It was a hit. The following year, he phoned the usual guests to invite them to the annual barbecue. I asked, "What should I bring?" He replied with surprise, "The baked beans, of course!"

Wherever I've brought Uncle Jack's Famous Baked Beans—to our multi-family swim club dinners, or Chili cook-offs— the response as been the same: "Bring those again."


Uncle Jack's Famous Baked Beans

1 stick pepperoni 
Dice and sauté for a several minutes. Remove from pan but keep the pepperoni oil in the pan

Add to the pan : 
8 yellow onions, diced.
2 bell peppers, diced.
Sauté slowly. It will look like an enormous pile when you start, but, like spinach, when you're done you'll wonder where it all went. 


1 large can of baked beans
Several smaller cans of different types of beans. 
I use black beans, white beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. 

Open the cans and dump all the beans into a colander. Wash off *all* that canned goop. We're going to replace it with something much tastier. 

Put rinsed beans into large pot and add:
1 bottle barbecue sauce 
1 bottle pancake syrup

Add the sautéed onions, peppers, pepperoni. Mix it all together. The liquid level should be contents even with the solid contents. 

At this point you should taste it and make any personal modifications. Salt, fresh ground pepper, molasses, red pepper flakes, etc.

Heat the contents and simmer for an hour. Stir as needed. The liquid will reduce and thicken to something wonderful. 



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