Spring Hill Ranch's 3-Bean Beans
Those of you that know me know I have an affinity for southwestern and ranch (chuck) cooking out of necessity and for North Carolina barbecue out of family tradition. In my mental search for something new and fresh to do with beans, I decided trying to blend the three into a fusion of beany goodness. I came up with this concoction and we all just love it. At least nobody complains!
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- 1 1/2 - 2 lb
- flank or skirt steak, sprinkled with kosher salt and black pepper or with steak seasoning of your choice
- 6 slice
- thick cut bacon (apple-wood smoked if you can get it), partially frozen and then finely chopped
- 1 large
- red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 medium
- chile jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (leave the seeds in for a spicier bowl of beans)
- 6 medium
- cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp
- kosher salt
- 2 tsp
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 Tbsp
- apple cider vinegar, plus more for optional seasoning at the finish
- 1 lb
- (or a 15 ounce can of) cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 lb
- (or a 15 ounce can of) cooked kidney beans (with the liquid)
- 1 lb
- (or a 15 ounce can of) cooked great northern or cannellini beans (with the liquid)
- 1/3 c
- molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 Tbsp
- dark (or light) brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp
- soy sauce (low sodium if available)
- 1/3 c
1Note: The flank/skirt steak may be grilled and then chopped into 1/2" pieces, in which case you can delete step #4.
If you choose not to grill the steak, simply chop it into 1/2" pieces at this time and set aside.
2In a 5+ quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, render the bacon until it is just starting to crisp, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring as needed.
3Remove 1 Tablespoon of the bacon fat and set it aside. Add the onions and jalapeños and cook them until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic cook it 1 to 2 minutes. Remove it all from the pot to a small bowl. Set it aside.
4If you did not grill the steak in step 1, wipe down the inside of the pot, add the reserved 1 Tablespoon bacon fat and, when it is just starting to smoke, add in 1/3 to 1/2 of the steak and cook, stirring as needed until it is just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Remove to the vegetable bowl and repeat with the remaining steak.
5Once the steak is cooked, deglaze the pot with 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Return all the vegetables and cooked steak to the pot and add in the beans. Add the molasses, brown sugar, soy and ketchup, stirring to combine. Bring the pot to a simmer over low heat, cover and cook it for 2 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes to assure that the bottom doesn't burn/stick. After tasting the results, and if you care to, add in more apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon at a time to your personal taste (I like about a tablespoons-worth). Simmer for about 15 minutes more to allow the added vinegar to blend well.