While I will admit to a fondness for baked beans, I’ve always shied away from the canned version because I am not a fan of sweet foods. Sure, I’ll indulge if I encounter the canned version, but I won’t buy them unless I have a serious craving.
Yeah, I crave baked beans.
If the craving is minor and time is plentiful — or I know I need a killer dish to bring to a barbecue — I go straight for my crockpot and let the beans cook overnight. The slow cooker does all the work of cooking the beans through while developing a rich sauce that is just sweet enough with some tangy and spicy flavors to balance that sweetness. Best of all: no soaking required! I just toss everything into the crockpot, and let it work while I catch up on TV and much-needed sleep.
I like to pretend it’s my Hungarian heritage that draws me to to this dish, but the truth is I love stews of all kinds, at any time of year. This braised dish sits on the back of the stove for a few hours, filling your house with the scent of paprika and yumminess. Oh, and it’s effortless to make this dish gluten free!
To offset the heat of the paprika, the recipe uses a bunch of onion. These cook down into the sauce to add a rich sweetness that will have you reaching for second before you realize it!
My recipe calls for a thick sauce that clings to the beef, but if you like a looser, soupier sauce, that is fine. The sauce will soak into buttered noodles, rice, or even gluten-free rolls.
I’m going to warn you up front: if you make these, make a lot. More than you need for whatever recipe you’re making. Trust me on this. You will find yourself “tasting” just one, then another. And another.
Your husband will grab a few, just make sure they do taste all right. Anyone who walks by the pile of fried onions will indulge in a taste test. Before you know it, you will have to lay down the law: no more tasting until you’re sure you have enough for the recipe.
After that, it’s open season for crispy fried onions. No point in having leftovers, right?
This gluten-free version of stuff you traditionally buy in a can during the holidays is so addictive, you’ll discover uses beyond green bean casserole just because you can’t stop eating them!