A few years ago, at a school potluck, a coworker named Jan made these beans and gave us the recipe. She called them "Settler's Beans" and when we looked this up online, there are quite a few versions of a recipe called "Old Settler's Beans." We aren't sure why they are called this. What we are sure of, however, is that they were a big hit at our Christmas Eve party and we promised to share our version, so here it is. They are more like chili than baked beans, with sweet, spicy and smoky flavors. This recipe makes about 14 one-cup servings.
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 28-ounce can country style baked beans
1 15.5-ounce can light red beans
1 15.5-ounce can dark red beans
1 15.5-ounce can black beans
1 15.5-ounce can canellini beans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
black pepper to taste
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, bacon and onion together. Drain the fat. In a large oven-proof baking dish (we used our beanpot), combine all the beans including the liquid. Stir the meat mixture into the beans. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover the baking dish and bake at 350 for one hour.
Note: To make ahead, do not bake. Instead, allow the mixture to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Bake when ready to serve.