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Colorado Cowboy Beans
The old west. Wide open spaces. Cowboy’s sitting around the campfire trading tall tales. Even if you make this dish indoors with an oven, the smoky flavors will transport your guests back to a simpler place in time. Makes 6 side-dish servings

1/2 pound dry pinto beans (1-1/4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped smoked ham or salt pork
1 cup chopped onion
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Rinse beans. In a large saucepan combine beans and 4 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, skip boiling the water and soak beans overnight in a covered bowl.)

Drain and rinse beans. In the same pan combine beans and 4 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1-1/4 hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans, reserving liquid.

In a 1-quart casserole combine the beans, ham, and onion. Stir together 1/2 cup of the bean liquid, the tomato sauce, green chiles, brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and mustard. Stir into bean mixture. Bake, covered, in a 325 degree F oven about 1 hour. Uncover and bake about 45 minutes more or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

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