Much like a bologna sandwich, once a year or so, I get a craving for a hot dog. Growing up, that usually involved a side of B&M Baked Beans. You may recall that a few years back, I encountered Goya Fiesta Jalapeno Baked Beans for the first time. At the time, I used some to make Jalapeno Baked Bean Cornbread Cups. I also made a mental note at the time to try my own slow-cooker version.
I knew that the Goya beans included corn, and red bell pepper, so I started with that. Never having made beans before, I looked up some recipes, and they all seemed to call for 4 or more cups of liquid. How this turned into accidental soup is that I started with 3 cups, which looked like more than enough. By the time I was finished, there was still a lot more liquid than I had anticipated, so I used a slotted spoon to remove some from the pot to use like baked beans, then grilled and diced a ham steak and added that to the pot with more beef broth and additional cumin to account for the extra liquid, and turned the rest into a great soup!
Regular baked beans usually include molasses, which I did not want in this particular recipe, so I had instead increased the amount of brown sugar I was using, thinking that over the course of cooking, it would simmer with the broth into a sort of simple syrup type of sauce. Not so much, but that's OK! You might want to start with 2c, then add more if necessary. Another option might be to use some of the soaking liquid from the beans because it would be more starchy. I have read in some places that you shouldn't use that liquid, yet in other places that you can, so using some of it should be fine.
16 oz bag of black beans
2 strips bacon
1 red bell pepper
1 large sweet onion
4 or 5 jalapeno peppers
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 t cumin
15.25 oz can of corn
3 c beef broth
- The day before you plan to make your beans, you will want to soak them, so pour them into a large covered bowl or a pot, cover them with water by at least 2", cover and store them in the fridge overnight. The next day, drain the beans (reserving some of the liquid if you want to use that).
- Turn your slow cooker on high, then snip your bacon into tiny pieces and add to the pot to let the fat start to render.
- Petite dice the red bell pepper, sweet onion, and jalapenos (the amount of pith and seeds you include will determine the heat level), stirring them in with the bacon as you go along.
- Crush or mince the garlic and add that to the pot next, along with the salt, black pepper, and cumin, letting the fat from the bacon act as the vessel to deliver those flavors to your veggies.
- Add the corn, drained beans, and broth (or part broth, part reserved bean water), cover and let simmer for 4-5 hours.
- If you are going to do like I did and use the beans as a side dish for one round, then transform the rest into a soup, just don't forget to increase the seasoning so the flavor doesn't get watered down by the additional liquid.
If you are looking for a vegetarian option, just omit the bacon and swap out the beef broth for vegetable broth. For the soup, skip the ham and maybe puree part of the soup for a different texture.