NOT YOUR AVERAGE COWBOY BAKED BEANS

by Jan 2, 2021

BAKED BEAN HEAVEN

I often post recipes that my husband Allen liked.  However, I don’t think anyone likes this casserole as much as my son, Karl.  Last time I made it, I gave it to him to take and finish cooking at home. He sent me a text, “I really love that baked bean casserole!! Thank you!! Love you!!”  (I think he means it!!)

This old favorite comfort dish probably originated from recipes like Cowboy Beans or Chuckwagon Beans.  I doubt that real-life cowboys messed around with condiments like Worcestershire Sauce and red wine vinegar, so I hereby dub this traditional casserole as Kornow’s Baked Beans.

Allen’s mother gave me this recipe after a visit to their home on the opposite side of the state.  It is the kind of recipe that can keep warm in the oven for a while if you are expecting company and aren’t sure about the arrival time. And it is great, easy comfort food for blustery winter days. It is also easy to adapt in order to make a vegan version.

EASY TO ADAPT FOR PERSONAL PREFERENCES

You can combine different kinds of canned beans in this, but do stick with the Pork and Beans (or the vegetarian version of canned baked beans) as the base.  Then throw in other kinds of beans for color and variety.  Allen’s mother used lima beans, but that was the ONLY bean that Allen did not like. I like to use at least one can each of beans that are darker and lighter than the tan pinto beans. Another reason I like this recipe is because I can divide it into smaller dishes, freeze them, and then cook them when ready. I can then bake a small casserole if I am serving just a couple of people, or an individual size portion for myself.

YES, YOU CAN MAKE A VEGETARIAN VERSION

Start by putting all the beans together in a large bowl.  I usually buy canned vegetarian baked beans now because I have a vegetarian grandson.   Do not drain the pork and beans but do drain the light and dark beans.  I forgot to drain those cans of beans once and had to cook the casserole twice as long as usual.  It was a good thing I was making it ahead of time.

In my world, I add all the condiments to the beans at his point and stir it thoroughly. I remove some to a separate casserole dish for my grandson, then I combine the cooked bacon and ground beef (see below) with the rest of the bean mixture in the large bowl. When I plan to make two versions-meaty and vegetarian, I add that second can of white beans. I always have to make sure I have enough food!

If you are making the meaty version, cook the bacon in a large pan, then remove the bacon and set it aside. Sauté the onion (if using) and ground beef. Drain off any excess grease. Another favorite kitchen gadget that I love is this ground meat chopper, easier and quicker than a spoon or fork. It can be used to break up other ingredients that need it. I use it for seitan, potatoes to smash, or tomatoes that are too chunky for a sauce. 

After I put the casserole(s) in the oven, I then make a green salad to accompany this and round out the meal.  I must admit, though, that younger kids tend to ignore the salad and chow down only on the bean casserole. 

I was going to take a photo of the casserole, plated, with the salad next to it.  Unfortunately, I forgot to dish some out for me and sent it all home with Karl—dang!!

Kornow’s Baked Bean Casserole

  • 53 Ounces Pork and Beans, Canned
  • 30 Ounces Dark Red Kidney Beans, Canned, drained
  • 15-30 Ounces Cannellini Beans, Canned, drained
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Pound Bacon Or Turkey Bacon, Or Combination
  • 1 Pound Ground Sirloin
  • Medium Onion, Chopped or 1 teaspoon onion powder

Combine first seven ingredients (beans through red wine vinegar) in a large bowl. Cook bacon until crisp in sauté pan; remove. 

If making a vegetarian version, add chopped onions or powder and pour into a greased casserole dish.

If making the beef version, sauté onion in drippings until soft.  Stir in ground beef and cook until brown; drain off excess grease.  Combine with rest of ingredients, stirring to mix well.  Pour into greased (large) casserole dish or bean pot. 

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

If you want to hold this for awhile before serving, cover it with foil and keep it in the oven (turned off now) for an hour.

Sign Up For New Recipe Notification

PAPA’S FAMOUS CHICKEN; EASY MEAL!

PAPA’S FAMOUS CHICKEN; EASY MEAL!

When I first met Allen, he was a still a student at MSU, and was working two jobs. I had just graduated from college and started my first semester of teaching in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Neither of us had much money, but I loved trying new cooking techniques and he...

“Wingless” Chicken Sandwiches in an Asian Style

“Wingless” Chicken Sandwiches in an Asian Style

We are smack dab in the middle of Michigan's roller coaster Spring weather.  Although it was a sunny, balmy 72 degrees the other day, it is now in the 40s and Michiganders know that we could still get snow between now and the end of April.  Soup and sandwiches are key...

SIMPLE STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

SIMPLE STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

Ha! I bet you didn't even know that there is a National Strawberry Day, did you? Well, there is, and it is today, February 27th. When I realized that I almost missed such an (ahem) important day, I decided I really needed to investigate further. Are there other food...

QUICK, EASY, AND SATISFYING SUPERBOWL SANDWICH

QUICK, EASY, AND SATISFYING SUPERBOWL SANDWICH

I think I have mentioned before that when Allen and I met, we realized that we often had opposite tastes in food.  He wanted beef, I wanted chicken.  Allen liked sour, I liked sweet. He loved salty snacks, but I wanted citrusy snacks. I loved brown rice, he wanted...

Leave a comment.

0 Comments