Recipe by Cinnamom in Illinois
This is my family version of what some call Cowboy Beans or Picnic Beans. There's probably as many names as versions, and here is ours! My kids loved this when they were little, after all-day outdoor soccer and called it Beanie Stuff. My sister calls it That Special Bean Thing I Always Ask You to Bring. It's very adaptable and forgiving, can be left in the crockpot at a potluck, or rushed a bit if the little ones are HUNGRY. This is for the stovetop, but can be changed to suit your needs. The one thing that should stay the same is the Maple Syrup -- it really makes the recipe!
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb bacon
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 cup catsup or 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1⁄3 cup real maple syrup
- 2 (28 ounce) cans baked beans (I use Bush's)
Directions See How It's Made
- Brown ground beef in large, 5 quart Dutch oven or cook pot. Drain fat, and set beef aside.
- Cut the full pound of bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp in the same pot. Drain all but a tablespoon or two of bacon drippings.
- Cook onions and garlic in the bacon drippings over medium heat until translucent.
- Add the ground beef and bacon back in, along with the catsup or tomato paste, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Stir together very well, blending all ingredients.
- Gently fold in baked beans, and bring just to the boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
- Serve with a green salad and crusty sourdough bread to round out a hearty meal, or makes a great bring-along to potlucks and picnics.
- Note: This is also good with different types of beans: just add the same bean amount in a different variety, but don't drain the beans. Butterbeans with red kidney and great northerns are also very good!
- Serving sizes depend on how you're using this. As a main dish, it does go a long way, which is how I listed it below. Goes even further as a passed dish!