Pardon the pun but at this point with the wild winter weather roller coaster we have been on, I am yearning for warmer weather foods. To me that could be ribs on the grill, corn on the cob and baked beans. Not that baked beans have to be reserved for better weather. In fact, they can be a wonderful winter comfort food; especially when an old favorite is combined to make a new dish that just popped into my head.
I have five siblings and every family birthday dinner was celebrated with that special person’s favorite meal. My sister Carole always chose pork chops cooked in baked beans. To honor Carole and my mother for sharing an old church favorite baked bean recipe, I have created a new dish that I hope my sister will prepare and enjoy.
Originally this dish was prepared using canned Campbell’s baked beans and boiled pork chops. Period. I am not making this up! My loving parents had a lot of mouths to feed on a budget (I love them even more for the values they taught us). And when I think of the original recipe ~ skinny pork chops boiled for thirty minutes then baked in the beans for over an hour, I have to chuckle at the memory. Dry as the Sahara but my immature taste buds still appreciated it.
Before my parents moved to South Carolina thirty years ago, they were active members in the Colesville United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, MD. There, one of a zillion church fund-raising cookbooks was created and ‘Benny’s Beans’ came to life. Even though this baked bean recipe still calls for canned beans, the marriage of the flavors is satisfying and my addition of the chops browned in bacon fat adds a meaty twist to a very simple dish. I don’t know who Benny is but I still have the hand written copy of the recipe from my mother which I will always cherish. Of course when you prepare this dish the kitchen will smell divine.
Ali’s Pork Chops and Baked Beans:
- 6-8 strips of bacon
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed
- 4 thick cut pork loin chops
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 – 16 oz. cans Bush’s Original Baked Beans
- 6 oz. red wine
- 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 bay leaves, broken into large pieces
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- Fry bacon to soften. Remove and drain.
- Fry garlic in bacon grease then throw out.
- Brown chops on both sides in the bacon grease. Remove to a plate.
- Fry onions in same grease until soft.
- Combine beans, wine and tomato paste in Dutch oven and heat through.
- Add onions, bay leaves and brown sugar and heat until mixed.
- Add juice and zest from the orange into the mixture.
- Add chops to the mixture, covering with beans.
- Lay bacon strips across the top.
- Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes until some of the liquid is reduced.
These chops are unbelievably moist. Don’t eliminate the orange zest as it adds a brightness to this interesting sweetish, slightly sour combination.
I have absolutely no recollection from my childhood of a vegetable being served with this dish but I would prepare a lovely mixed baby greens salad with a simple vinaigrette and perhaps some apples or pears as an accompaniment.
If you love bacon and really, who doesn’t, check out the March issue of Food Network Magazine ~ “The Bacon Issue”. Every recipe has bacon as an ingredient!