I picked up some bone-in chicken breasts last week that are huge. One of them could do dinner for the three of us. I cooked two.

Good ol’ bone-in breasts. They really do taste so much better than the boneless/skinless things I usually buy. And I buy good boneless/skinless things. I remember when chicken was actually more expensive than beef and when all chicken had bones in it. They didn’t need to be labeled “free range” because they all were. That was before the factory-farming of today.  So much for progress.

But this isn’t supposed to be a political rant on the sorry state of our food supply. It’s actually a victory post! Nonna ate spicy tonight!

I knew all day long that I was grilling these big ol’ chicken breasts – and that I was going to make my sister’s chipotle baked beans to go along with them. These are seriously the only baked beans I ever make. They totally rock.

When I started making them, Victor came in and asked if I was going to make them less spicy for Nonna. I said “Nope.” They really can be a spicy dish, but I figured if she didn’t like them, there were other things to fill up on. I put a goodly amount on her plate along with tomato salad, fries, and the aforementioned chicken.

She took her first bite and said “these are hot.”  I mischievously asked “temperature or spice?” She said “spicy” and continued eating them. She said they were spicy another two times – all the while eating them. She ate every one and cleaned her plate!

So we now know that Nonna likes spicy. Or, at least, she likes Phoebe’s Spicy Baked Beans!

Phoebe’s Baked Beans

  • 1/2  cup minced shallots
  • 1  tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1  tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2  cup tomato puree
  • 1  tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4  cup honey
  • 1/4  cup cider vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons molasses
  • 1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 2  chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2  (28-ounce) cans baked beans

Preheat oven to 300°.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots; sauté 4 minutes or until golden. Add cumin and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add tomato puree and oil, and cook for 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients (except beans.). Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine beans and shallot mixture in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until thick and bubbly.

First change I make is I always use a small can of tomato paste because on the rare occasion that I have tomato puree in the house – it’s in a 28oz can. The recipe can be halved or doubled – or tripled or whatever.

And they really are that good!

The rest of the dinner worked, as well. A simple tomato salad – Nonna really does like [red] tomatoes – with a bit of fresh basil, red wine vinegar, and olive oil, and some fries.

I wonder how she would react to some really good andouille sausage…?!?