The Covered Dish - Bean Hot Dish

January 04, 2023

Nothing in the world sounds as soul-warming to this cook as a delicious pan of beans. The title of the recipe will sound a bit ‘northern’ to many readers. In Minnesota the word, ‘hot dish’ means a casserole. I know, sorta’ different for those born and raised in the Midwest. If there’s a decent pan of baked beans within a few miles I am sure to find it! As kids my sister & I would build a campfire by the edge of Grandma Lucy’s garden. We would heat a can of VandeCamps and eat it like cowboys, right out of the can. Then there was bean and bacon soup by Campbell’s; that too, was one of my favorites. (Now I can’t believe I ate that bean soup!)

For a good pan of baked beans my family has a few pre-requisites:

Oven baked, no crock pots—too runny!

Phillip, our son says they must contain sausage, hamburger, pulled pork or bacon, in that order.

Debbie says they must be cooked down so there’s no running juices on the plate. A quick check-in with my spouse, Ervin, he agrees, his top requirement is they can’t be runny!

Chopped onions are a must and sometimes I like to include fruit.

Lastly a good pan of baked beans is a main entrée if they're hearty.
If the bean entrée thing is just too much you might off-set the wind effect by eating a green salad before the meal. Greens help with the digestion of the mighty bean.

I encourage folks to get creative with baked beans. There are lots of different sauces available if you implement bbq sauce in the recipe. You don’t have to buy pre-canned beans, save by cooking the beans yourself. Which is what I do in this recipe.
As we approach the new year let’s try and focus on doing more things for ‘self’.

I am extremely guilty of this. I won’t do things for myself because I’d rather put the money towards groceries! This is a #1 priority, and of the utmost importance. I would suggest we take care of that first and foremost. But find time for reading, crafts, coffee/tea, nail appointments, massages, facials and so forth. It makes you feel better emotionally, and during the Midwest winters we certainly need the pick-me-ups. If you have sunshine, bundle up and go sit in the sun! This brings in more vitamin D which is helpful in many ways, including stress. Go shopping and catch some of those winter sales. Any source of exercise will definitely put a crimp in old man ‘depression’.

Mealtime doesn’t have to be a big affair, especially of an evening. Nothing wrong with oatmeal and toast! Then spend the extra time on YOU!

Grab the tail of 2023 and sail through a wonderful new year. Simply Yours, The Covered Dish.

Bean Hot Dish

1 lb. pinto beans

1 lb. navy beans

Water to cover beans overnight, then drain

1 tablespoon Liquid smoke, organic is best without Nitrates

1 tablespoon maple extract

2 tablespoons no sodium beef stock

6 cups water

1 lb. pork sausage, reserve any dripping, drain

½ cup chopped sweet white onion

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 Gala apples, chopped fine

1/2 cup raisins, chopped, if large

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 cups bourbon flavored bbq sauce

1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4-1 cup pure maple syrup


1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped very fine

1/2 cup broken pieces of pecan

Sort through dry beans the day before making. Place in a large bowl and cover with water 2-3 inches over the top. Allow to set overnight or 8 hours.
The next day drain the beans and combine with the liquid smoke, extract, beef stock and 6 cups of water. Place inside a pressure cooker. On the T-Fal cooker set on level two, seal the lid and place over medium high heat until the top begins to spew. At this time lower the temperature to low/medium low and keep spewing for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and release steam slowly. When red lock button drops it is safe to open.
While the beans are cooking cook the sausage and 1/2 cup onion together in saucepan, draining.

If the beans sit for a bit you will find it unnecessary to drain any extra juice from the beans. Continue down the list stirring in all the ingredients from the sausage and onion to the maple syrup. Stir to blend. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Melt * 1 tablespoon of butter in sausage pan and cook onion until it’s close to caramelizing and add the broken pecan pieces. Cook basically to heat, cool slightly and sprinkle over the top of the beans. Usually I have about 2 cups of beans that won’t fit in the pan! So, if you have a rather large baking dish just above a standard 9 x 13 baking dish, I would use it.

*If sausage had lots of drippings the butter may not be necessary.