My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chipotle Baked Beans with Pulled Pork

Chipotle Baked Beans with pulled pork. This is a BBQ recipe that gets requested frequently. I like it because you can do it the old fashioned way...soak your beans and do it from scratch OR you can open a couple of cans of prepared beans and doctor them up with spices and meat. Either way they taste great! When I am on one of my healthier kicks then of course I do it entirely from scratch. It is a little less expensive and no preservatives. However, I am also guilty of opening the cans and doctoring up the beans with the SAME ingredients as the homemade beans. Either way...your beans will rock the BBQ!

The nice thing about this bean recipe is that it is VERY FLEXIBLE. You can add or delete different types of beans, meat and spices to customize it. I generally like to make it with shredded pork roast (also called pulled pork) but sometimes I use ham (especially if I get one on sale) or I use cooked bacon which also tastes great. I have even used sausage or shredded beef in a pinch. (I personally stay away from turkey sausage, turkey bacon, etc in this recipe. (My daughter made her beans with turkey bacon and it had a funky flavor). If you are a vegetarian you can leave the meat out. I generally stick with northern beans and add some black beans but you can add lima beans and/or pinto beans too. None of the beans really have much flavor on their is the SAUCE that makes this dish. We consider this a "side dish" at our house but technically since it has beans and is a great protein source and can be used as a main dish.

The key thing to preparing this recipe is to give it enough time to allow the flavors to blend. If you just mix all the spices with the beans an heat them won't have the wonderful "marriage of flavors" that you expect from great baked beans. I like to make my beans several hours before serving or better yet...the night before. It gives all the ingredients time to mingle so the flavor intensifies. I have cooked mine on the stove top, camping fire pit, BBQ grill, baked in the oven and used the crock pot. The beans turn out great every time. I like to take the lid off the beans about 20-30 minutes before serving so they get set up a little bit. No one wants runny beans! The instructions below are for the various options to prepare them. I know it looks lengthy but it is really SIMPLE. If you prefer doing it the easy way (and less kitchen clean up) then I would purchase the extra large can of Bush's Baked Beans from Costco or Sam's club and just add the BBQ sauce, chipotle, garlic, onion, half of the brown sugar & pork. Throw it all in the crockpot. Simple & Delicious!

This is how I convert my dried beans to canned beans. It isn't rocket science and it may not be perfect but it works for me: 
3 cups dried beans = 1 1/2 pounds bag of dried beans = 9 cups of beans after cooked = 6 (15 oz. each) cans of beans, drained. *Note: If you are making this using Bush's baked beans then you can go to Sam's club or Costco and get 1 extra large can of Bush's baked beans. Follow the instructions below but leave out the ketchup and start off using about half of the brown sugar and add more if you need it. Simple, right?

Chipotle Baked Beans with Pulled Pork Recipe: (This makes a large oval crockpot full)
  • 3 cups dried beans (or substitute 6 (15 oz. size) cans of beans). I generally use northern beans & black beans (but I have also added kidney beans or pinto beans. I have friends that add lima beans). Most beans are pretty bland by themselves so you can add any type of bean or combination that you want. Make sure you drain the juice off the beans unless they are canned baked beans. If you are buying the Baked beans that are already prepared (like Bush's baked beans) then you may not want to add as much sugar and leave out the ketchup because they already contain it. You will have to taste test and adjust. The cans labeled "Pork & Beans" generally don't have any sugar or ketchup in them (or very minimal) so you can just dump them in the pot and season as instructed below without draining them first.
  • 1-2 chipotle chile peppers in adobe sauce, pureed (I freeze the remainder of the can to use later unless you like it really spicy then you can add the whole can) OR substitute 1-3 tbs. ground Chipotle chile powder. (I prefer using Chipotle chile because it has a nice slightly smokey flavor rather than cayenne pepper or regular jalapeno peppers). You will have to decide on how spicy you like your beans. We like our beans with just a hint of spicy flavor. Just enough that it tingles your tongue but not enough that it scorches it and leaves you gulping water. I generally start off adding 1 chipotle pepper or 1 tbs. chipotle chile powder and add more if I need it. It is always easier to add then take away. However, if you find it is too spicy...just compensate with a little more sugar and it will tame down the spice. I also use Rudy's BBQ sauce when possible (limited availability for me) and it is slightly spicy too so I don't need to use as much chipotle chile flavor. If I use a different brand of gluten free BBQ sauce then I sometimes need to add more chipotle chile. Keep in mind that when the flavors heat up during the cooking, the spicy flavor will come out. Don't over power your beans with too much chipotle chile flavor to start with. You can always add a little more later if you need it.
  • 1 cup of gluten free BBQ sauce (My favorite is Rudy's. Our friend's Pat & Lory gave it to us from New Mexico. It is a little spicy. However, I  have used Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce also and it works fine. I have also made my homemade BBQ sauce if I have time. If you have a gluten allergy then just make sure the BBQ sauce you are using is gluten free. Feel free to add more BBQ sauce if you prefer it.
  • 1 1/2 cup ketchup (you may not want to use this if you are using Bush's baked beans. It already contains ketchup in the sauce)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or you can use the finely chopped garlic in a jar or substitute 1 tsp. garlic powder (NOT GARLIC SALT!)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (You can add more or less depending on how sweet you like your beans. If you are using prepared Bush's baked beans then you may want to cut back on the sugar. You can always add more later if you need to. You can use regular white sugar or unprocessed raw sugar too or even honey. It all works to sweeten the beans. I prefer using brown sugar because it gives the beans a molasses flavor.
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 1-2  pounds of shredded cooked pork (pulled pork) or you can substitute ham (not lunch meat ham. That will not give you the same flavor!) or use cooked & crumbled bacon. If you are making them vegetarian style then just omit the meat.
Besides the beans, these are the main ingredients you will need

Pork roast, getting ready to shred it. I cooked mine with onions and chile peppers
If you are doing it the old fashioned way then you will need to soak your beans overnight in cold water. Just put them on the stove top and let them sit there absorbing the water. They are dried and need absorb the water to become tender and juicy again. You will need to drain & rinse the beans in the morning. Put the beans in the pot with water and simmer on low heat for about 1-2 hours until soft but not mushy. (You can also do it the quicker way by covering the beans in water in a pan and bring them to a boil - take it off, cover them, and let them soak for an hour (rather than overnight) and then change your water and cook them for 1-2 hours until soft but not mushy. I know that's not very quick, but faster than overnight and a few hours simmering!) If you are using canned beans then you skip the entire process of soaking & pre-cooking the beans.

I like to saute my onion & garlic in a little olive oil or butter to soften them. I don't like them crunchy in my beans. You can also just put them in the microwave for a minute or two to soften them. Combine onion, garlic, ketchup (if you are using it), BBQ sauce, brown sugar, chipotle and pork (if you are using it). Put the beans in the crockpot and pour ingredients over top of the beans. Gently stir. Put the lid on your crockpot and cook on low heat for 4 hours. If you are cooking on the stove top then I cook on low heat for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and let stand for a couple of hours for flavors to blend well. Re-heat just before serving. If you are baking the beans then I bake covered with foil for about 1 hour @ 350 degrees, remove foil and bake additional 20 minutes without foil so they thicken. If you are cooking on gas grill or fire pit, cook on lowest heat available for about 40-60 minutes.

TIPS: If you think your beans are too sweet then you can add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to give them a more tangy flavor. If they are too spicy then add a little more sugar to bring down some of the heat flavor. If you find the beans are too dry then add 1/4 cup of water (or more) and if they are too runny then make sure the lid is off so they can thicken. If that doesn't work you can add 1 tbs. of cornstarch or tapioca starch or even instant mashed potato flakes to give them a little thickness. Sometimes we just have to improvise on a recipe because different brands of products will vary slightly.

My homemade BBQ sauce recipe: (if you prefer making everything entirely from scratch)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine and cooked until soft (you can either cook it with the meat or in a little water in the microwave or stove top. You don't want crunchy onions in your sauce!)
  • 1 cup ketchup (I used Heinz which is marked gluten free on the back of bottle)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or raw brown sugar. Add a little less if you like it more tangy or add a little extra if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard (this is found in the spice section of your grocery store)
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder or ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (optional. This is something I like to add because we like the smokey flavor. If you don't have it on hand, I wouldn't run out to buy it)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 tbs. vinegar (I used white vinegar today but you can use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tbs. worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perrins which was labeled gluten free)
  • 1 cup broth or water (I used broth from my pork roast today)
Combine all ingredients together in a sauce pan and cook on low heat until well combined and slightly thick. If you prefer the sauce a little thicker then you can add 1 tsp. corn starch or tapioca starch to get it to thicken faster.

Chipotle baked beans with pulled pork in crockpot

Chipotle Baked Beans with pulled pork

Chipotle Vegetarian version baked beans

Chipotle Vegetarian version of baked beans (up close view)

I hope you enjoy my version of baked beans. Feel free to add or delete whatever you need to make it work for your family. Also feel free to post any substitutions or tips & photos. We all learn from each other!

Gluten Free Casually

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