Block Party Beans

Last week, my husband and I did some camping and hiking in the southern wilderness.  Consecutive days of high heat, trekking and sweating took their toll.  When we returned home (11 hr. drive in our rugged (i.e. non-airconditioned) Jeep), I couldn’t muster the energy to make it to the supermarket.  Not wanting to make yet another meal out of jerky and trail mix, I opened the freezer in search of dinner.  I can’t express how happy I was when I saw two containers full of these Block Party Beans.  The last time I made a batch, I wisely froze some of the leftovers (and there were plenty, as I didn’t make them for a block party).

This might be one of the quickest and easiest CI recipes I’ve tried.  It relies on supermarket staples, but has a deep BBQy flavor.  It’s hearty enough for a meal, or can be served as a side.

Vinegar, brown sugar, and store-bought BBQ sauce

Canned beans

Fresh beans

Brown the ground beef

Add some onions and garlic

Starting to look saucy

It tasted just as good defrosted, as it did freshly made.

Block Party Beans – Cook’s Illustrated, Entertaining Summer 2011

  • 2½ lbs. 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (15.5-oz.) cans beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
  • 2 (28-oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen lima beans

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°.

Cook the beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the beef is no longer pink, about 8 min.  Drain the beef in a colander, discarding the drippings, then return the beef to the pot.

Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 min.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec.  Add the beans, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, sugar, vinegar, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook, covered, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 min.  Add the green beans and lima beans and continue to cook, covered, for 30 min. longer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. (The beans can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)

note – use beans of varying size and color, like kidney beans, navy beans, black beans and pinto beans

Yield – 12 servings

– feel free to omit the red pepper flakes, or increase, depending on how much heat you like


2 thoughts on “Block Party Beans

  1. This is just the kind of meal one should make a goodly amount of and freeze that which is left over. It is perfect for those days when you arrive home too exhausted (physically or mentally) to create a good dinner.

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