Camp Cookout with Lentil Baked Beans

June 17, 2017

Summer should include at least one camp cookout. In the prairies, it might be fresh rainbow trout or pickerel in a cast iron skillet over an open fire, or ribs finished on the grill. Packet potatoes—tiny new potatoes from the Little Potato Company tossed with Highwood Crossing canola oil, butter, salt and pepper and wrapped up in a foil packet are easy to transport in a cooler and can be tossed right on the grill or tucked into hot coals. And baked beans are a classic—make them ahead of time and reheat with the smokiness of the fire. Try them made with lentils, a concept made popular by Joe Beef in Montreal; all pulses are important prairie crops, but particularly lentils—in fact, Saskatchewan is the biggest exporter of lentils in the world. All kinds of baked beans are made better spiked with Cattle Boyz BBQ sauce, which is made in Okotoks, and can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until you need it. 

(And if you’re packing a meal to cook and eat in the great outdoors, keep dessert simple and pick up a Canada 150 Berry Cake!)

Lentil Baked Beans

This is an adaptation of a recipe in the Joe Beef Cookbook; red lentils make a brilliant alternative to the usual navy or kidney beans used in traditional baked beans—they require no soaking, and they cook in less than a quarter of the time.

1 Tbsp. canola oil
4 slices bacon, finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups water
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set a heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, bacon and onion and cook until the bacon is almost crisp and onions are golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the lentils, water, ketchup, barbecue sauce, maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard, bay leaf, and some salt and pepper to taste. 

Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender and have absorbed the liquid. Pluck out the bay leaf before serving. Serves 8 or more.

- Julie

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