Friday, May 1, 2020

Grilled Smokies and Easy Baked Beans

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated financially, all opinions are my own. This is the seventh week of isolation for me. It feels like the time has slipped by, and yet February feels like ages and ages ago. I was talking with a friend today, and she mentioned how much she loved her life three months ago; how good she had it. I couldn’t agree more. Those were the days of hugging your friends, going for coffee spontaneously, and no one thought twice about going into the grocery store. I miss those days. I miss a lot of things. But with the longing for “the old ways” comes an acceptance for what is the new “normal”, and a whole lotta gratitude for the life I have. It’s not that bad. Everyone I love is safe and well. I have a fridge full of food. I' have a little bit of money in my bank account. And, I've got all the springtime feels. We’ve had a burst of heat here in Saskatoon and it can’t come at a better time. I’m so grateful that I have a huge yard to spend time in. Me and the cats go outside for at least a few hours every day. They climb trees, sniff every flower bed, and curl up in the patches of sunlight. I dig in the dirt, happy to see all of the green stuff poking out, then I take a break and sit in my chair and drink tea, grateful for the sun shining on my face, warming me up from the inside out. 

I don’t know what the next six weeks of isolation are going to look like, but chances are good that I’ll be eating more grilled food. Grilled smokies smothered in flavourful baked beans is classic warm weather fare, and this version, made with Grimm’s Original Bavarian Smokies, is super simple and prepared largely with pantry ingredients. Canned white beans go into my shopping cart on each and every grocery run because they’re so versatile and nutritious. They cut down on the cooking time in a huge way! Bacon gets the party started, but if you don’t have any, then just use 2 Tablespoons of canola oil. You can use any barbecue sauce lingering in the fridge (I used an open bottle from last summer and I’m still alive) or check my note at the end of the recipe on how to make your own. There’s something so wholesome and comforting about baked beans, and I love how these beauties come together and taste amazing in just over 30 minutes. I swear they taste even better the next day! 

While the sweet and smoky beans simmer away, soaking up all of that great barbecue flavour, Grimm’s Smokies are grilled to gorgeous perfection. Gluten free, lactose free, soy free, with no added MSG, the Bavarian Smokies are a family favourite for good reason. Not only do they taste delicious (those crispy bits!) they remind me of summer and all of the good times ahead: Bonfires. Stargazing. Thunderstorms. Sundresses. Ice cream. I know it’s difficult to think too far into the future, but when I’m outside, face towards the sun, I can’t help but feel hopeful that there are better things ahead. I hope everyone stays safe, and takes good care out there. 

Grilled Smokies and Easy Baked Beans 

Serve the smokies and baked beans with plenty of crusty bread (you’re all making bread, right?!?!), and a green salad, or roasted vegetables. 

5 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cans (19 oz/540 mL) white beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
5 Grimm’s Original Bavarian Smokies
1 tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

1. Place a 12-inch skillet (ideally cast iron) over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it is slightly crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave any remaining bacon fat in the skillet. 
2. Stir the onion and red pepper into the skillet. Cook until the veg are softened and have lovely golden bits, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. 
3. Stir in the bacon, beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and mustard. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the beans to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and gently simmer for about 25 minutes until the beans have thickened. If the pan gets too dry, you can add a little bit of water. Season the beans with salt and pepper. 
4. While the beans are cooking, prepare the smokies. Cut 2 diagonal slits ¼-inch deep on both sides of the smokies. Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium heat. Lightly brush the grill with canola oil. Cook the smokies, turning occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes, until they are deeply golden brown and a thermometer reads 165F when inserted into the centres. 
5. Remove the smokies from the grill, let them rest for 5 minutes, then cut each in half diagonally. Arrange the smokies over top of the beans in the skillet. Garnish with chopped 
parsley. Makes 4-6 servings. 

Barbecue Sauce: 
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp grape jelly (or apple jelly)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate for up to 1 week. 

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