Beans don’t have to be boring

There’s no limit to the variety of bean dishes waiting to be tried by those who aren’t afraid of a little variety. The recipes this week feature navy, white soup, kidney and pinto beans, but all are different dishes with different flavors.
All are hearty, flavorful dishes and are guaranteed to fill up the hungry while satisfying their taste buds. Feel free to add heat if you like with red pepper flakes.
But, if you decide to do this, by all means take seriously the instruction, season to taste.

Chili Con Carne4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
2/3 cup red wine
Garlic cloves, crushed
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 drops hot pepper sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons corn meal
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook green pepper, and onion, until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
Crumble over bouillon cubes, and stir in wine; continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in chopped tomatoes, garlic, and tomato paste. Season with paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, basil, oregano, and parsley. Stir in salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover, and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in kidney beans, and hot pepper sauce. You can add the reserved tomato juice if more liquid is needed. Continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, and water until smooth.
Stir into chili, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until chili has thickened up.

Senate Bean Soup
1 pound dried navy beans or great northern beans, washed and drained
3 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 medium smoked ham hocks
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 large cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Cover beans with water and bring to a boil; boil for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain bean liquid into a bowl; measure and add enough water or broth to make five quarts; pour back into beans. Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about two hours, or until beans are very tender. Add ham hocks, potatoes, onions, celery and garlic, and continue to simmer for another hour.
Remove ham hocks and cut up meat; return to soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Boston Baked Beans
2 cups navy beans
1/2 pound bacon
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately one to two hours. Drain and reserve the liquid.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Arrange the beans in a two-quart bean pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.
In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
Bake for three to four hours in the preheated oven, until beans are tender. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.

Border-Style Beans
1 pound pinto beans, about 2 to 2 1/2 cups
8 cups water
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 cup chopped celery
1 can (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
2 medium carrots, sliced
seasoned salt, to taste

Wash, pick over, soak, and cook beans with the eight cups of water, following package directions. Sauté onions and garlic in oil; add lean ground beef. When beef is no longer pink, add chili powder. Add ground beef, parsley, celery and tomatoes to the cooked beans. Return bean soup to boil; turn heat to low. Cover and cook two hours longer. Add sliced carrots during last hour of cooking time. Salt and pepper to taste.