Our son and his family live in South Dakota ranch country. My daughter-in-law called one day as she was cooking mass amounts of food getting ready to feed the cattle branding crew. She asked if Farm Girl Fresh could make a healthy version of Cowboy Beans.
Since we grow black, kidney and navy beans on our organic farm, and sell them on our website, I thought this recipe was a great idea! Plus, we have found an excellent source of grass-fed bison and this is the perfect recipe to incorporate that healthy meat.
This recipe is easy to make when beans are prepared ahead of time. I like to make beans in my instant pot and freeze them in quantities needed for the recipes we like. Check out our instant pot recipe tab for how to cook dried beans. Cooking time varies on what variety of bean you’re cooking and the elevation where you live. It takes 10 minutes to cook black beans and navy beans in my instant pot. Cooking kidney beans is a little less time – about 7 minutes.
This recipe makes a lot. So whether you’re feeding a branding crew, preparing for a picnic or wanting leftovers to eat another time, it’s a great protein-packed meal!
1 pound crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
1 pound ground beef or bison
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups prepared navy beans (page 121)
5 cups prepared kidney beans (page 121)
4 cups prepared black beans (page 121)
1 cup maple syrup
1-1/2 cups ketchup (page 255)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain grease, keeping a couple tablespoons in skillet. Using the same skillet, brown ground beef and onions in bacon grease. Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.
Makes 20 servings