This was my offering at our friend’s Fourth of July barbecue yesterday. The chili and orange zest add an interesting dimension; these are not your standard barbecue baked beans. I pulled the recipe from Aliza Green, Beans: More than 200 Delicious, Wholesome Recipes from Around the World, but made a few changes based on ingredient availability and time frame.
1 pound dried pinto beans
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 ancho chilies, seeded, soaked in cold water 30 minutes, and minced*
2 tablespoons ground toasted cumin seeds
6 tablespoons brown sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons of liquid from tomatoes**
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
Rinse beans and place in pot with 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until nearly done. Drain.
Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to paper towels. In the same pan, cook the onion, carrots, and garlic in the bacon fat until softened. Add the chili, cumin, brown sugar, orange zest, and juice. Cook for three minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the beans, tomatoes, chili mixture and bacon in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil on the stove, cover and bake in oven for 1 hour or until beans are almost soft. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and return to oven for another 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft and the liquid has been absorbed. If necessary, add more liquid during baking.
*or 2 tablespoons ground ancho chile
**or 1/2 cup molasses