This part of my life began when my very sick partner was diagnosed with Celiac. Even the slightest exposure to gluten can make him very ill for several days, so I have pursued gluten-free options with thorough aggression. In the U.S. a recent surge of gluten awareness means we have more choices than ever, but it still means hunting and analyzing and tracking down parent companies. After several years now of doing so, I want to share my tricks and tips with others who are still struggling.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Calico Beans (gluten-free)

Calico Beans (baked beans) can be oven baked or cooked in the crock pot.

1 1/2 lbs lean hamburger
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 large can (min 20oz) lima or pinto beans
1 large can (min 20 oz) kidney beans
1 large can (min 20 oz) pork and beans

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp salt
2 tsp wine vinegar

Note: This makes a sweet sauce.  If you're looking to make it a little more savory, omit the white sugar and add 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, and 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.  Fry 2 minced cloves of garlic with the onion.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (if not using crock pot)
  2. Fry the hamburger and drain off the fat.
  3. Fry the bacon and drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat.
  4. fry onions in the 1 tablespoon bacon fat and fry until translucent.
  5. Drain all the canned beans well and add to drained meat.
  6. Combine sauce ingredients. Stir into meat and bean mixture. 
  7. Bake at 350 F oven for 1 hour, or cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours.
This freezes well if you need to make it well ahead, and the leftovers taste even better than the original. You can store in the fridge for up to five days and re-heat as needed.

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