Phew...what a weekend. Not just any weekend...a Lonesome Dove Marathon Weekend. OMG...truly one thing I would take to a desert island. I LOVED that series.
I watched all the episodes except for the conclusion. Couldn't quite bring myself to watch that and so I taped it. Maybe tonight. Such splendid emotion, scenery and acting. I can hardly believe it's been 23 years. Oh my. Gus, Woodrow, Lorie Darlin'...the gang was all there.
For those who are not aficionados, the saloon in dusty Lonesome Dove was the Dry Bean. And, on the trail, most of the meals those cowboys ate up were beans and so I decided, how perfect. Beans for dinner it is. This bean dish is great and real as a cowboy except for the bacon.
Lonesome Dove "Baked Beans"
1 pound dry white beans, like navy, pea or cannellini (see note)
2 whole cloves
1 small onion, halved lengthwise and peeled
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices of "veggie" bacon
Chopped red onion, for garnish
Cover beans with water to top them by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight, or bring to boil in water to cover, cool 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Put them in a pot. Stick whole cloves into onion halves and add to pot along with garlic and bay leaf. Cover with enough water to top them by 1 inch. Simmer beans, partly covered, until just tender, about 1 to 2 hours depending upon age and size of beans; do not overcook. Add boiling water if beans look dry during cooking; they should be surrounded by just a little liquid.
Remove onion, cloves, garlic (if desired) and bay leaf from pot. Stir in the salt. (Yes, I always salt at the end!)
In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard powder, Tabasco and pepper. Pour mixture into beans and stir well. Add a slice of bacon to pot and bring everything to a simmer. Let simmer over low heat until beans are thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove bacon slice, if desired. Season with more salt if needed.
Just before serving, reheat beans, if necessary. Fry remaining bacon in large skillet (watch closely...veggie bacon cooks quickly) and drain on paper-towel-lined plate. Transfer beans to heated gratin dish or baking pan and top with bacon and red onion. Serve hot. Serves 4.
Note: You can substitute three 15-ounce cans of white beans, if desired. Put them, with their liquid, in a pot and simmer with the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard, Tabasco, pepper and bacon as directed in Step 4. Serve as above.