After gorging on holiday food, sometimes you want something that seems more healthy, but less rich. These beans simmer away in your slow cooker while you are out in the cold, ready to be served when you arrive in the door. Serve ladled over steamed rice, with a tossed green salad and some crusty buns. Thick and full of chunks of bacon or sausage, we loved these on a cold winter night.
2 cups dried pinto beans
3 cups water
4 slices of bacon
1 onion, diced
1/2 lb kielbasa cut into bite sized pieces (for a spicy version, use Chorizo sausage, chopped)
1 can ranch style or bbq beans
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (you can always add more)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp ground paprika
Put the beans in a container and cover with about 3 inches or so of water, giving the beans lots of room to swell. Set aside overnight. The next day, drain off the water and rinse the beans. Get a large pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil, then add the beans. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are tender. Take off the heat and drain.
In a skillet over medium heat, fry up the bacon. When it's cooked through remove to paper towel to drain, and drain off all but about 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat. Add in the onions and continue to saute them, stirring, until they are translucent and soft.
Put all the ingredients in your crockpot-everything from the beans to bacon, sauteed onions, spices, you name it. Give it all a stir so that it's mixed, then simmer it all on low in your crockpot for 8-10 hours, adding more water if it seems to be a bit dry. I don't like my beans too soupy, so I preferred less water. You may add more if you think you need it.
We served this with a bottle of hot sauce and some steamed rice at the table, and everyone just ate it right up!
Adapted from Merry with Children