With my deadline quickly approaching and faced with this spring's Tribune Chronicle "great honey challenge," I had been reading with great interest my co-workers' stories using this ingredient.
"Tribune Cooks" writers have been challenged by our Features Editor to prepare a dish using honey among the ingredients.
Honey, of course, is a wonderful sweetener, as many of my co-workers have demonstrated with their recent recipes. It also is great with a barbeque, and I thought that would be my choice. It's summertime after all, and time to break out the grill.
Tribune Chronicle / Brenda J. Linert
Though the recipe calls for molasses, honey makes a great substitute in Brenda’s Baked Beans.
But it wasn't meant to be. Fellow Tribune Cook Andy Gray stole a bit of my thunder with his recent story about slathered-on honey barbequed chicken (thanks a lot, Andy). Good thing I had a back-up plan! It was Memorial Day weekend and I would make my favorite side, what I like to call "Brenda's Baked Beans."
While my recipe generally calls for molasses as a sweetener, honey was a quick, easy substitute and it turned out just perfect. I did an even substitute, 1 / 2 cup of honey in place of 1 / 2 cup of molasses. The choice is yours!
Grandma, and now my aunt back home in Pennsylvania, always soaked the dry beans in cold water overnight before preparing the dish. But as most people who know me realize, I always am behind the eight ball, hectic as working mom and wife. So when I make my baked beans, I take a little shortcut using canned beans as my recipe reflects.
Brenda's Baked Beans
2 can drained great northern beans
1 can undrained baked "pork and beans"
1 can drained butter limas
1 / 2 cup honey or 1 /2 cup molasses
1 / 2 cup ketchup
1 / 4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 small chopped onion
1 / 2 pound bacon
Mix everything together in a casserole dish. In a separate dish, chop the bacon. Cook it covered in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, or in a stovetop skillet until lightly cooked. (Don't overcook.) Drain grease and arrange bacon pieces on top of bean mixture. Bake at 325 oven for about one hour, stirring once or twice.
If you choose the dry bean route, use about four cups of navy, great northern or any combination of white beans that you like. Rinse and soak them in cold water overnight. You also will have to cook the beans in water (boiling lightly) for about an hour before baking. Some folks also like to save the boiled water to pour over the bean mixture before baking.